Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Heart of God

It sounds frustrating, I know, that there would not just be a Bible verse for every little thing that we face, that God's Word would not just provide us comfort right away whenever and wherever we seek it. But I would argue that whatever we could discover in the Scriptures, unless it would lead us back to the very character and heart of God, could only ever provide minimal, if any real, comfort anyway.

Imagine, for example, that you were struggling with some very severe physical symptoms. You longed to know what was going on with you, longed to find some information somewhere that would give you the answers that you seek. Now, imagine that you worked faithfully with a doctor to dig through all of the literature until you discovered what it was that was troubling you. You and your doctor settle on one diagnosis; it's right there for both of you to see. 

You may be thankful, but you're still sick. Now, imagine that you ask your doctor what to do about it, and he gives you a less-than-stellar answer. He doesn't really know. He's only the kind of doctor who diagnoses things; he doesn't know the first thing about fixing them. That diagnosis you have is now essentially useless. It's empty.

This is the heartache that so many persons feel when they turn to the Scriptures for comfort. When they dig through the Bible to come up with a verse that says something, anything, about what they are going through, but they don't follow it back to the heart of God, they find something that is essentially useless. It's empty. If, for example, you discover that "God draws near to the broken-hearted," but you don't let that lead you to the heart of God that is drawn to the broken-hearted and you still feel the distance between yourself and God in this broken-hearted moment, what good has the Scripture done you? None at all. 

And this, sadly, is the point that many persons start to turn away from God altogether. It is at the moment that they find His Word empty, for no other reason than that they have not traced the thread of His Word back to His very heart. 

Now, it may be that your inept doctor is able once again to scour through the literature and discover that there is a treatment for whatever it is that ails you. He may find scientific studies proving the efficacy of taking one route over another. It may even be that there is something out there that provides an absolute-sure cure for your condition. Great! But then that doctor may turn to you and say that he doesn't really know how to implement that treatment. He knows what you need, but he cannot tell you anything about how to get it. He can't give it to you. How much are you loving your doctor right now?

Again, here is where many run into problems with the Scriptures. They willingly hold onto verses like, "God works all things together for good" (which is, by the way, often misquoted to mean something that it doesn't really mean). Great! God knows how to make good things. But whatever you're going through doesn't feel good. You can't find the good anywhere in it. How much are you loving your God right now?

That's why it's not enough to go into the Scriptures and find something that in some way speaks to whatever it is that you're going through; the Scriptures are empty without the heart of God that beats through them. And all over our world, persons, even Christians, are finding them empty because they rely too much on the Word and not enough on the Author of that Word. 

That's why it's so important to not get caught in this trap. That's why, when someone asks me what the Bible says about _____, I pull away and tell them what the Bible says about God. Because the heart of God is the only thing the Bible ever authentically speaks to. Read any other way, it will come up empty every time. 

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