Always religious, it seems this year has taken on a new spiritual awakening. Perhaps it’s because I’m on the cusp of my 30th birthday and am somewhat reflective. Perhaps I find myself more and more intrigued with the morality or immorality of the word around me. Whatever the reason may be, I entered into the New Year with a fresh outlook. I decided that I would take a spiritual journey and read the bible cover to cover.
Only a few chapters in, Numbers to be exact, I’m far from my goal, but as I journey through the Word, it became apparent I needed an outlet for my feelings and questions. It struck me that my ramblings may strike a chord for others who struggle in their faith.
As I’m learning, the Old Testament can be a difficult book for Christians to swallow. It’s full of rules and regulations, animal sacrifices, a vengeful God who is capable of killing masses of people and judgmental enough to stipulate who is worthy or who is “clean.” It isn’t the God shown through Jesus in the New Testament that befriends a known prostitute or heals the sick.
I believe the Old Testament is where a lot of hostility and judgment lies. A part of the bible that struck me was a controversial passage where God condemns homosexuality. I thought it ironic that only a few verses later, he proceeds to say you shall not wear clothing of more than one fabric, touch a person that is sick or dead, or eat anything that does not have cloven feat or chew cud.
No matter what a person believes, my understanding, in the old and New Testament is that ye should judge not lest ye be judged. How come some rules can change but others stay the same? When it became ok to wear cotton linen blends, be a nurse and eat pork I’m not sure, but that one rule it seems has remained strong in much of the religious community. I pray one-day people will stop condemning others and let God judge.
One personal lesson that I am learning is that I need to be more patient. The story of Genesis illustrated this when Sarah waited for so many years to conceive. The Lord had proclaimed he would bless her, but the blessing did not come right away. Her conceiving occurred in God’s time, not according to her or Abraham’s timetable. When she was too old to even be capable of conceiving, God blessed her with a miracle. When I am about to give up or think my dreams are so out of reach, God continuously shows me his glory.
Later in the chapter, as Jacob agrees to work seven years for his beloved Rachel I was again shown a lesson of patience. After working all those years and being tricked to wed Leah, he again agrees to work seven more years for his love. How many times have I wanted to give up or get what I wanted right away? Jacob worked fourteen years to obtain one goal!
My biggest lesson thus far is how hypocritical I can be. As I was reading about Moses leading the people out of Egypt, I continually found myself getting upset at their “murmurings” and whining about how it was so bad for them. As I rolled my eyes for about the twentieth time it hit me like a ton of bricks. I am the one who murmurs. Maybe not outright at God. I don’t condemn him or get furious with him, but I question him continuously.
Everyday I ask why he blessed me with certain talents yet doesn’t provide opportunities for me to use them. I question why I don’t make more money. Why I don’t have the job I want. Why people hurt me or question my integrity.
I was ashamed as I finished reading my passage. It’s because I, like those Moses led out of Egypt don’t trust. I continuously want a reminder that God is there and he is championing me on. I need to remember that when the Israelites were starving God sent them manna from heaven.
The Lord promised to lead them to a land with milk and honey yet the Israelites were so caught up in the here and now they allowed pettiness and short sightedness to become their shortcomings.
I need to learn to trust that the Lord is leading me to my land of milk and honey. By living each day in complete trust I will silent my murmurings. By living a life where I show compassion to everyone I meet, do not judge others lest I be judged and continually question that my intentions are pure, I trust God will take care of me.
As I stumble through my journey this year, I’m sure I’ll find many more shortcomings with myself, but as they say to an addict, admitting my problem is the first step. I can’t become a better person if I don’t look myself, and my faults, square in the face.