Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Favorite Bible Verse

A Favorite Bible Verse I Don’t Always Love

 

The world around us is becoming increasingly challenging.

Challenging to live out our Christian faith in a morally relativistic culture.

Challenging to share the joy of our faith in a society that is not just indifferent, but actually hostile to a biblical worldview.

And challenging as we face the uncertainty of a future that seems perilously out of control.

What do you do when you feel challenged?

Where do you go for answers?

How do you decide on the right course of action?

If I’m being smart, I go to the Bible for direction and answers. Sometimes I like what I see. Other times I’m stretched by what I read, because the answer does not line up with my natural inclinations.

For example, a favorite Bible verse—and least favorite—happens to be the same verse.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105 ESV).

One simple statement, providing answers regarding the source and kind of help God provides for guidance.

At face value, this verse sounds like everything we would want, including light and leading. And yes, I’m grateful for the direction promised to God’s children.

But (true confession), if I’m not careful, I can become hung up on what I don’t like about this verse. If I’m being honest, I don’t want a lamp to my feet. A lamp only lights the way a few feet in front of me. It lights the path step by step.

I don’t want a lamp for the next few steps. I want a floodlight that illuminates the way for a mile down the road. I don’t want direction just for today. I want a map that details every stop and every detour for the next year (or two or three).

But God gives me what I need, not necessarily what I want.

What I need is to learn dependence on Him. Sadly, it’s easier for me to trust Him for my salvation in Christ—my eternal destiny—than it is to trust Him in the temporary trials of life.

Psalm 119:105 makes it clear that God gives just enough direction to move forward with dependence on Him. But I want more. Lots more.

If there’s any consolation, it’s that conversations with friends reveal I’m not alone in this. Many of us would like to know what lies around the bend next month . . . next year . . . next decade. And come to think of it, isn’t that the reason people flock to fortune tellers, read horoscopes, and visit palm readers? Wanting to know what the future holds can easily move from a vague desire to an obsession.

We’re under the illusion that if we know what’s coming, somehow we can control it. As if a certain level of control will solve all our problems. But control is an illusion. We can’t control the weather, the culture, or how other people respond to us.

Let’s face it, most of us aren’t even moderately successful in controlling ourselves!

Ever lost your temper? Said something you wish you could take back? Or maybe not said something you wish you had?

Control may be what we want, but dependence is what we need. Dependence on the One who created us and sustains us if we run to Him. Trusting that if God has given us all we need in Christ for our eternal relationship with Him to be healed, surely He can be trusted for the here and now.

The Father has restored us to Him through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. And the Son has left us His Spirit, equipping us to grow in our intimacy with Him and to live a life pleasing to Him.

In short, He has already given us everything we need. So why does that not seem to be enough?

Perhaps it’s because, deep down, we’re afraid to trust. Afraid God doesn’t define good the way we do. As C.S. Lewis once said, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

We define good as what we want: people and possessions. God defines good as the people and process He uses to make us more like Him. Built into that process is the cultivation of trust. And trust is best cultivated when there’s just enough light for one step at a time. Sound familiar?

Like I said . . . my favorite—and least favorite—verse!

What is your favorite or least favorite Bible verse? Why?

 

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10 Comments

  1. Angela Van Etten

    Thank you for writing just what I need today. I came up with a number of how many book reviews I need for my book launch tomorrow. And even though the number has been surpassed, God in His infinite wisdom has orchestrated that several of the reviews be posted elsewhere and not on Amazon like I wanted. I need to trust Him for my daily steps and accept that He knows what the book needs to be successful. Only He needs to see the big picture.

  2. Janice D. Green

    Wow! You caught me by surprise with this one, but it is exactly what I need to realize. I’m overly concerned about when God is going to intervene in our national crisis. I need to be content to know that he will and then move on with the things I need to be doing instead of searching for clues about what’s going to happen next and/or when.

  3. Jennifer Baringer

    Anxiety looms just beyond the light trying to pull me off the path. And I want a flood light to expose it, because I think that will make me feel safe! Thanks for your wisdom here. This Is certainly a verse I have a love/hate issue with. Also for the reminder about p my mislaid trust. Hugs

  4. Mary Sayler

    So insightful, Ava! Thanks. People on social media often ask, “What’s your favorite Bible verse,” but your idea of least-favorite verses would make a great discussion starter for our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook.

    May God continue to anoint and bless your work in Him.

  5. Jessica Brodie

    Convicting post! As a planner who feels secure when I feel like I have a handle on the big picture, the truth is I DON’T know the big picture, and planning only goes so far. I must trust that God will lead and protect me.

  6. Melinda Viergever Inman

    This is a favorite C.S. Lewis passage of mine, Ava: “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” This often feels like it’s the story of my life. However, we know that God will do the best for us. We’ve read Romans 8:28, and we believe it. He does work all things together for the good of those who love the Lord. We don’t need to know the Big Picture, like you said, for the Lord knows, and he is in control.

  7. Yvonne Morgan

    Amen sister, I hear and relate. I wish (and pray) for God to shine more light on my path. I know He holds all in His hands but sometimes I think I want to know if my future. But, I keep walking in faith.

  8. Melissa Henderson

    His light is what we all need. Walking home from a neighbor’s house last evening, I used a small flashlight to guide the way. I am thankful His light is not small. He never runs out of batteries and we can always depend on Him. Great message.

  9. Nancy E. Head

    I’ve always found the verse comforting, but you’re right. We do want light beyond the next step or two. That’s where our trust comes in. Great message here.

  10. Karen Friday

    Ava, this rings true in my life. I often want the big picture and what’s down the road instead of the next few steps. But that would not be trusting and placing my faith in the Father’s hands. And we still wouldn’t be able to control the outcome.

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