Back in the day of big hair and even bigger bangs, Amy Grant had a song that I loved. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” It comes from scripture. Psalm 119:105. As a teenager, I imagined the Bible being some kind of coded book. If I read it right, it would light my path.
Read that again, “If I read it RIGHT, it would light my path.”
I put so much pressure on myself.
Scripture is incredible. Full of messy people and crazy circumstances. It can provide wisdom and courage.
But it is not about reading it “right.” That mindset comes from hypocritical religion and fear. The Bible is meant to be engaged. My life pressed into the wild stories and recognizing myself in them. Do I have more in common with Rahab the courageous prostitute or the rigid Pharisees who anchor their life to the right rules?
I’m quite sure I can see myself in Rahab and the Pharisees both.
I stifle God’s creative nature when I think reading the Bible is about getting it right.
It’s a journey and it was part of mine as a teenager to view it that way. But I am ever-growing.
When that song found it’s way to my heart the other day, I thought to myself:
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. 1 John 1:14
I am grateful for scripture. It has helped me know this Jesus. But what I felt as that verse came to mind was that the Word that is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path is not words on a page, but the WORD.
The word that became human. The reckless Love that breathed with lungs on earth-dirt. He lights my path by walking ahead of me and behind me and with me when all seems confusing.
The Bible perplexes and confronts me. It angers and comforts me. Jesus words keeps sneaking out and turning my world upside down. The Bible tells a wholly different story to me today than it did when I was 15. It’s deeper and more confounding. I both understand it more AND less. And I am so glad. For if I could understand it all with perfect certainty than I think I would have made God, instead of him making me.
I submit to being remade again and again as I get closer to him. This too, is a mess and wild story that is so much less about being right than being real. God made humans and so I think it most safe to be one in him.