I am sure that many can relate to the following rather embarrassing and frustrating experience. But it turned out also to be an instructive experience. Perhaps it will be for you as well.
On Friday morning, my hands were full as I headed toward the door on my way to work. I couldn’t find my house keys, though I had searched everywhere. Of course (typical husband), I was pretty sure my wife had used and misplaced them. As I walked toward our room to enquire where Jill was hiding them, I looked in my hand and noticed that, not only was I carrying a bag, but I was also carrying my keys. I was immediately relieved (while also ashamed at my assumption) that I had not yet expressed my erroneous frustration towards my innocent wife.
As I then walked out the front door I was struck with the realisation that, too often, this is precisely how I live my life when it comes to God’s word. That is, I spend so much time looking for solutions to problems—too much time blaming others and needlessly frustrated—because I have failed to realise that, all along, what I needed was quite literally “in hand.” Though I have a Bible (many of them!), I too often run about the “house of life” unhappily searching for something that is “very near me, in my mouth, and in my mouth” (Deuteronomy 30:14). To get back to my metaphor, with God’s “keys in hand,” too often I fail to open the door to get where I need to be.
The instructed Christian professes to believe in the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. We believe that God’s word is without error and that it provides all that we need for life and godliness. We believe that it is the rule for all that we believe and practice (2 Timothy 3:15–17; 2 Peter 1:3). We read it frequently, and even memorise it. We have it (literally) in our hands and (metaphorically) in our hearts. But, too often, we don’t utilise it. Too often, we look elsewhere for the keys to overcoming our problems. We look to the world’s wisdom for answers to our emotional and relational challenges. We look to unbelieving “experts” to help us with our marriages or with raising our children. We look to business acumen for how church life should be ordered. That is, we look everywhere but where we should be looking! And, like me on Friday morning, we end up stuck inside of our problems, frustrated, and blameshifting, making no progress towards where we need to be.
Brothers and sisters, yesterday we commenced a new week. We were exposed to God’s word publicly (and, I hope, individually). The Lord’s Day is a unique means of putting the keys of God’s word into our hands for the days ahead. Perhaps this morning you have already read Scripture. Wonderful! Now, ponder what the Lord enabled you to learn—and apply it. Get together with your Grace Group this week and fill your hands again with God’s keys. I can assure you that, as you do, you will find a lot more doors opening for you this week: doors of progress, doors of spiritual maturity, doors of repentance and reconciliation and repentance. And doors of rejoicing.
Every morning, I read the latest on the number of COVID-19 infections and the positivity rate. I do so with anticipation about the present and the future. With those recorded facts “in hand,” I am able to order my prayers and to make some plans. But when it comes to God’s word, we have something more certain (2 Peter 1:19–21). Therefore, having read it this morning, I can face an uncertain world with confidence and with a lot less frustration. I simply need to pay attention to what is in my hand. I hope you will as well.
Learning to pay attention with you,