If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, I’m sure you’ve recognized that my overall goal for Grace for the Race is that the articles which appear every week will offer you encouragement and provide comfort. From time to time I have been told that I have succeeded in that goal.
And yet there is another written source that is guaranteed to bring us all encouragement and comfort . . . and so much more!
Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
No hit and miss here. EVERYTHING that was written in God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible Word is there to teach, encourage, and give us enduring hope. Of course, when the apostle Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans, he was pointing back to the Hebrew Bible, what we call the Old Testament, because that is all his readers had at that time. You and I have the entire Bible, which has been given to us to meet us in our deepest place of need.
There is a “cosmic comfort” that is found only in the Bible. The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), and breathes comfort into our lives that will only be found on the other side of reading, marinating, and meditating on it.
So . . . how much time do you spend in God’s Word each day?
We simply cannot receive the comfort the Scriptures are designed to provide unless we read what was written. As I often say, the book you don’t read won’t help! And there is no book that has ever been written that provides more help and hope than God’s Holy Word. One of the things I have learned from watching others closely is that the more they have worn out their Bible, the less they have worn out their lives. Those who are living in and living out the Scriptures have a freshness and a resilience that you just don’t see in other people.
When you find yourself in need, where do you go for help? When you come to the Scriptures, you can be sure you will leave them better than when you came. Endurance is promised to those who are running on empty. Encouragement is promised to those who are buried under the waves of challenge. Hope is promised to those who are in circumstances that seem, on the surface, as utterly hopeless. Only the Word of God can do that for you, and it will do it over and over again. No doubt you’ve been reading the Scriptures when a verse or passage that you’d read dozens of times suddenly provided you with a nugget of wisdom that you’d never seen there before. The more you read the Bible, the more it reads you!
It is one thing to receive a word of comfort from a family member or a friend. God uses those words to bless us in supernatural ways. But as important as those words from others are to us, it is another thing altogether to receive the Word of the Living God, the Word that knows us better then we can know ourselves. You and I read God’s Word, and we are convinced it was written just for us! Why? Because God’s infinite wisdom meets each one of us in our particular place of personal need with just the kind of cosmic comfort that we so desperately need.
So read the Word of God for comfort; read it for endurance; read it for hope. But most importantly, read it because God gave it to you to read with a promise to give you everything you need . . . in both life and death. You have His Word on it!!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!