A few months ago – I found myself in a bad habit. I found myself only reading scripture when I was preparing for something… teaching, counseling, arguing for something, etc. … I wasn’t in scripture to see what God wanted to say to me – I was in it when I needed something specific. I started realizing that while I was really good at telling people how important it was to listen for God’s direction and guidance – I was not really good at listening myself.
A few years ago I remember hearing a talk from a pastor and he said that he had taken 1 year to read nothing but a single chapter in Romans. When I heard him say it I immediately thought, “How boring!!” … I couldn’t imagine re-reading anything over and over for that long of a time. But then one day I decided to try it – maybe not for a year – but to really discipline myself to read and re-read and digest a short portion of scripture. I landed on Isaiah 40 because it’s one of my most favorite scriptures. I started finding myself in the same habit though … I would read it quickly then would go to Google to find commentary and discussions about this chapter. I was determined to squeeze something from it and amaze myself with my ability to find hidden meaning and make a great analysis of this chapter. After a few days of this, something started to change though. I quit looking for commentaries; I quit analyzing; and I just started listening.
What I realized was that I had forgotten who was in control. I had tricked myself into believing I was in charge and I could do “it” … “It” being anything that needed to be done!
Then, as I would read it, I began tearing up every time I’d get to around verse 28…
“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.”
I have to remember … to be reminded… that while I will always be weak, that while I will always grow tired, that while I will always stumble and fall… God will not… ever.
Jason Rehmel is the Lead Pastor at Eastside Christian Church on the east side of Cincinnati. If you are someone who has had a terrible experience(s) at a church or churches – stop by some weekend and give it one more shot with Eastside. Whether you have felt judged, or dismissed, or unwanted – wherever it has been – Eastside is different.