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?