It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Psalm 119:71

What do you do when life has you feeling like you may not even believe what the Bible says?

Satan loves to use tragedy, disappointment, and heartbreak to try to convince us that what God has said isn’t really true. He compares our circumstances against what we understand of God’s character, and he can easily tempt us to doubt with a whispered, “If God is _____, then why would He let this happen?”. And in our darkest days, that’s a very easy lie to believe.

Even if those thoughts haven’t been articulated that succinctly in one’s mind, it has come through in practical ways in our lives. A lack of prayer, a reluctance to read and study one’s Bible, anger in our private thoughts, a negative attitude toward God, others, or yourself, are all ways that we can tell that what we say we believe and what we actually believe are at odds.

The fruit of action always shows what we allow to nourish the soil of our hearts.

As frail, finite human beings, that soil may be filled with doubt, fear, and anger often directed toward our Creator.

How it Affects our Study Journey.

When we struggle to believe God’s Word is even true (or maybe just not true for us or in this circumstance), it can be exceptionally challenging to study our Bible. Maybe we will pick up your Bible and read it to soothe the conscience, but that’s as far as it goes. After all, why would you read a letter from someone that you may feel hates you, is apathetic toward you, or behaves with malevolence against you?

In my experience and in learning from the lives of others, I have found that we get that way because we struggle to believe something that God has said in His holy Word. Personally, the hardest time I had in my walk with God in recent memory was after nearly losing one of my sons at birth. It was hard to see God at all in those days through my intense pain, frustration, and disappointment. I do understand the challenge, and I still struggle with questions all the time.

Hard is hard, whatever it looks like, and Satan wants to take that hard in our lives and do his best to make sure that instead of being refined, we reject God’s will and go our own way as grief over what “should have been” clouds our path.

The times when this might be true for you are most likely going to be in the middle of seasons of life when you also face painful trials of some kind. Or it could be sometime after that painful season when you feel mostly “okay” but any time that old pain comes to mind, you are confronted by the fact that there are things about God you may question – things that you know the Bible says are true but that don’t appear to line up with what you’re seeing in real time.

Times when the dark clouds feel as though they eclipse the lamp of God’s Word.

Does this sound like you?

Can you relate to feeling this way at some point in your relationship with Jesus?

Even Job, who worshipped God for (probably) decades of his life had trouble with faith when he faced the quick and excruciating loss of all of his property, wealth, and even the tragic deaths of all ten of his children – at once. Job wanted answers, and you can tell from his cries for those answers that he was having a hard time reconciling his present experiences with what he had learned about God’s character.

However, something we see at the end of Job’s account is this statement:

“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.” (Job 42:5)

Job could not trust a God that He didn’t know, and he knew God better through the hard, a lesson that the Apostle Paul had learned as well –

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

So, we study the Bible in these life chapters of agony, grief, despair, anger, resentment, bitterness…because our faith and trust in God only grows as knowing God deepens. The writer of Psalm 42 said, “O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee…” (verse 6). But the psalmist couldn’t have remembered God unless he had known Him first. He had to call to mind the things he had seen God do, the ways he had seen God work, the burdens he had seen God bear on his behalf and the behalf of others. He had to know God’s Word and choose to believe it even when it seemed unbelievable.

How can you remember someone that you don’t know? You can’t.

Pick up your Bible, friend, and just a minute at a time, let God talk to you through its pages.

God doesn’t need you to spend hours and hours in His Word in order to do a good work in you. He wants to spend that time with you, but in the darkest chapters of our lives, it can be so hard to push past the will of the flesh to feed our spirit. Just take it a line at a time, five minutes here, ten minutes there, and let God begin to draw you with the cords of His everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). His Word is powerful, even a tiny little bit at a time. Our steps may falter, they may be small, but each obedient move toward God in faith that He will do something with it takes us closer and closer to His side, and He’s patient with us. He will wait while we’re learning to walk by faith again.

His Word speaks to Who He is and what He desires for us. As we study His book, we become automatically immersed in a study of theology, the study of God – of His heart, of His character, of His love, of His holiness, of His worthiness, of His sovereignty, of His plan for us, of His goodness.

This little-by-little study enlightens our eyes so that cloud of grief doesn’t obscure our path anymore because the light of God’s Word illuminates the way forward. (Psalm 18:28)

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