“Bless the Lord, oh my soul.” Psalm 103:1
When Derek and I were married, our officiant gave us a very special gift. She gifted us with a bible that included a year long bible study. Though I did not start the bible study right away, about 6 months into our marriage I picked up that precious bible and began a year long journey.
In the past, I had tried to read the bible. I typically would start at Genesis 1:1, and try to will my way through the entire bible. Honestly, I cannot remember getting past Exodus. I know it sounds terrible, but I found trying to read the bible mundane and difficult. There were certain parts that were too wordy or difficult to understand, and other parts that simply bored me.
This particular bible was such a blessing as it provided a detailed plan with specific passages for 5 days out of the week, with a subject of focus for each week. I would set aside a special time each day to sit down and complete my bible study, and after 1 year I actually completed it! I stuck with it for an entire year, and some wonderful things happened to me.
I felt more connected to God.
With each bible study I completed I learned something new. There were classic bible stories that I was familiar with, but I was able to read the full story and understand the significance of it. Each bible study came with a “reflection” piece that asked questions about the passages in relation to your own personal life. This was my favorite part, as it helped me see how the bible was pertinent to my life. This gave me a reason to keep reading and studying every day, because it guided me through my life issues whether big or small.
Something that I did not anticipate happened. If I got behind on my studies for the week and skipped a few days in a row I craved returning to my studies. I would feel less in-tune with God, not as close with Him, and craved that connection with Him. Sort of like when you haven’t seen your closest friend for a long time, or maybe have been away from your husband for a while. You dearly miss them, and crave that special time together. This is how I knew I was truly building a stronger relationship with Him.
I was able to hear God speaking in my life.
Since I was closer to God I began to better hear Him speaking to me. As they say, “The Lord works in mysterious ways,” and I have found God speaking to me in various ways. At times, I would notice something on television or in a book that resonated with me. Something that caught my attention and made me feel like it was supposed to guide me somehow with whatever questions were on my heart at the time.
Other times, I knew God was speaking to me through people. Whether my husband, a friend, or sometimes even one of my patients at my day-job, these people would provide advice or opinions on things that were weighing on my mind. Often times this occurred without soliciting advice or questions at all, these people just seemed to say the right thing at the right time, and I knew it was God speaking to me through others.
My faith in Him strengthened.
Reading all of the stories in the bible, how Jesus healed and saved many people, strengthened my belief that God is real. There are countless occurrences detailed in the bible, some are the same occurrences told by different people who knew Jesus, that tell of his unfailing love for us and the amazing wonders he performed. With all of the consistency I found through my readings, I just knew there was no way this stuff was made up.
Reading how certain situations played out in the bible helped me realize that I really don’t know everything. God knows what is best for my life, not me, and I can rest easy knowing that however my life unfolds it is God’s will. And His plans will always lead to our happiest and most fulfilled lives, much more so than anything we could plan ourselves. I have become less anxious about trying to make things happen in my life “right now,” and am turning things over to God to do His good work in my life. Yes, I have to put in the hard work as well, but I have much more trust that things will happen when they are supposed to. I have faith that God will plant certain things in my heart during the right seasons of my life that I am supposed to pursue them.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
Participating in a bible study can help you better understand God, what He wants for our lives, and draw us nearer to Him. We can find the kind of relationship He craves with us, and find that any hole in our hearts can be filled with this new relationship with Him. The more we learn about His works, the better and more trusting we will be of His plans for our lives. I encourage you to begin a bible study, whether solitarily or with a group, and see the amazing things it can do in your life. As always, God bless!