Tonight I finished a book.
I started reading it last night at 9:30pm. Around 1:15am, I shut off the light and willed myself to go to sleep. I read a bit today, then this evening I picked back up at 7:30pm and just read the last page not too long ago.
It's been a very long time since I haven't been able to "put a book down," but oh, it's such a good feeling.
I have recently decided that I spend WAY too much time with mindless activities that don't get me anywhere in life. They may entertain me for awhile, even hours, but to what avail? One of my solutions was to fill my time with more reading. Any kind of reading. Reading is good for the brain and a lot of times is educational.
In this case, it was also a boost to my spiritual life.
The book I just finished was about 2-decade old marriage between a couple that was at the brink of divorce. The man in the relationship was on the verge of an affair, and the wife had been too busy and caught up in her own little world for years to realize her relationship with her husband had dwindled by the wayside. Both spend the entire book in a prideful state of blaming the other for the imminent death of the marriage, ignoring warning signs and promptings from the Lord to fix it.
What stuck out to me was how the author showed God's Almighty workings throughout this entire book. How she weaves His goodness and His miracles in the characters, situations, and storyline to form this beautiful outcome. It paints this picture of turmoil, devastation, and a fiery trial only to deliver the characters stronger on the other side.
Isn't that how God works? As I read the story, I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it have been easier if...?"
Often, at the end of the long road and horrible heartache, it's easy to look back and say, "If we had just had that conversation 6 months sooner," or "Had we just resolved this in the first place, then A, B, and C wouldn't have happened."
Yet often it is in those tough, tough times when the Lord reveals Himself to us the clearest and draws us closer in the process. Our human error is no excuse to not try, but in situations when it seems like we should have "figured it out sooner," the good Lord can turn our mistakes into miracles.
One exchange I read in the book went like this:
"... You're forgetting the first rule of being a Christian."
"What rule is that?"
"The enemy doubles his efforts when a breakthrough is right around the corner."
How often do I allow the really tough times to deliver me to the depths of despair? I hang my head in defeat, thinking I'm at the end of the road, when in fact the Lord may be holding the answer in His hand just inches away. It doesn't mean that every tough time will result in momentary rainbow, but what it does mean is that often we fail to see the spiritual battle that goes on when the Lord is working so closely with us. The devil doesn't want us victorious, so he steals away this joy by introducing temptation, trial, and hardship into our lives. This "doubling of his efforts" may last a day, a month, for years, or it may seem to last for a lifetime, but one thing is for sure. If we stay true and faithful to God, no amount of Satan's schemes will steal away the true joy and eternal reward we have waiting for us at the other end.
One of the bible studies I am doing right now teaches how to "Scripture-pray" but picking verses in the Bible and then praying the Words of Truth as a personalized prayer. In this book I finished tonight, the author showed God speaking to the characters in a still, soft voice through Bible verses. It was so powerful. It reminded me of the importance of using the Word as a beacon of Truth in my own life each and every day. Reading it keeps it familiar, but more than anything else, memorizing it locks it away in your heart forever. And certainly praying it is like speaking God's language to God. So the Word is a powerful tool and one of our main communication sources to the Lord.
There is much more I learned from this book but I will close, largely due to the hour.
Love you all!