When my brother and I sailed with my grandparents for a summer when we were teenagers, I never worried about how we would get from one island to another. My brother and I would just be excited about time on the open sea and the upcoming adventures on a different island.
Our Bibles are our navigation charts for life. The more familiar I become with Scripture, the more comfort it brings even when I’m not holding it in my hands. The more it filters into my eyes and ears, the more it comes to my mind and heart when I need it most.
I totally get being so discouraged that you have a hard time reading the Bible or attending church. I do.
But if you’re going to need to be able to navigate with truth when a stranger calls to tell you that your daughter is about to commit suicide. As you screech through town toward her while blowing red lights, you need Scripture to already be in your mind. When you’re trying to catch a few hours of sleep on three, hard plastic chairs in the emergency room hallway (because there’s not a room for your child), you need God’s comforting words in your heart.
When life slams into you at the speed of a totaled car—while I was sitting in it in front of my own house—or legal separation papers arrive on Valentine’s Day, how do you navigate that? How do you navigate when your mortgage gets pushed back and pushed back multiple times—but you don’t know until you’ve already packed your coffee maker and the piano movers are at the door for the third time in a row?
First, you cry (or scream in agony). Then you cry to God. Then you consciously bring to your mind the Bible verses you need in that moment.
God has so many verses that speak comfort and peace into our lives for such times. No, there are no verses about emergency rooms, but the psalms do speak peace into anxious hearts during hard times. There are no verses about wrecked cars or crushed marital hopes, but there are verses about lives being redirected (Joseph, Esther, Paul) and remaining steadfast in hard times (Job).
BUT the only way to be able to bring these verses to mind in the moment of the crisis is to put them in there beforehand. To quote my pastor, “You need to get into the Word, so the Word can get into you” (Chad Miller).
We need to be reading the actual Word daily, not just skimming someone else’s devotional. True confession: this is really hard for me! But it’s a discipline well worth cultivating.
We need to memorize Scripture. Trust me, I know how difficult it can be to memorize the older we get, but it’s not impossible. Write out verses on notecards and post them around your house where you’ll see them. And I’m sure there’s an app for that.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:5 ESV
Reading and memorizing Scriptures are how we abide in the vine—John 15. Abiding in the vine is how we bear fruit—and how we know how to navigate the storms of life.
What Scripture verses have helped you navigate through the hard stuff of life recently? What uncharted waters are you currently navigating, and how can I pray for you?