Journeys of discovery
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105)
The restrictions of recent months have meant that, like lots of people, I’ve got to know my local area much better. Particularly in the days of lockdown, with just one opportunity a day to leave the house for some exercise, I walked the streets and parks of Twickenham, Hampton and Teddington extensively. And it’s been a joy to see the year unfold and watch it move through the seasons.
I’ve spotted things I’ve been past many times before but never noticed because I’ve been in too much of a hurry. I’ve walked along streets I’ve never visited before, simply because I’ve had the time to do so and I’ve just wanted to discover what’s there. And I now have a much better sense of how the area fits together. Inevitably I often return to the same routes, but it’s never been boring. There’s always been something new to appreciate.
It strikes me that it’s a bit like that with the Bible. However much we come back to it, there’s always something new to discover or see in a different way. I’m surprised by how often I can read even well-known passages and yet be struck by something that hasn’t hit home before. How could I have missed that? But I shouldn’t be surprised really.
The writer to the Hebrews said God’s word is living and active, so I should expect it to come alive for me in new ways all the time. The American film director Cecil B de Mille said “After sixty years of almost daily reading of the Bible, I never fail to find it always new and marvellously in tune with the changing needs of every day.”
A bit like Jesus’ disciples, I’m often slow on the uptake, and need to see or hear the same thing many times before it sinks in. Yet He was wonderfully patient with them, continually teaching, healing, telling stories and demonstrating a pattern of life that showed who He was and why He had come. He knew them well enough to know they couldn’t take everything on board all at once, so He was always ready to go over old ground as well as reveal new things.
Jesus told His disciples that His Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth. And He will do the same for us. So make sure you invest regular time hearing, reading, studying and meditating on His word, and expect His Spirit to deepen your friendship with Him and strengthen your faith in Him.