“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.”
James 1:5 Verse of the Week for #P31OBS #TameYourList
As I have shared, growing up I had obstacles (in the form of people) blocking my journey of HOPE. Of all the differences I had from my family: skin color, religion, political parties, sports teams, the hardest on them was my need to know…everything! My passion for learning began as a love to read. The books I escaped to offered me a place where I could cry and laugh as loud as I wanted, where I could disagree with the characters but they would need me to open the pages of the book to bring them to life. As a professed atheist I had even read through the KJV translation of the Bible knowing I had to be armed to rationalize (a nice way to say bully) people out of their faith.
Growing up on the South Side of Chicago in a small city neighborhood THE worst thing you could hear was, “you are a born northsider.” That insult may seem harmless but what it meant was: you think too much, you talk too much and if we have to hear your mouth another moment we are going to leave you on the Dan Ryan (the closest Expressway that led to the North Side)! It surprised no one when I joined the High School paper and within a semester was an Editor. I proudly shared my bylines knowing I would be met with hostility and guilt for not minding my own business. School was a safe place for me, a place where I was surrounded by activities that earned me appreciation, attention and in my warped and emotionally stunted youth that meant LOVE. Education was the place I wasn’t a burden or an embarrassment but the star. I am sure it won’t surprise you when I say I am the first person in my family to attend and graduate from a four year college and I majored in words: Magazine Writing with a Minor in Creative Non-Fiction.
Yes, it was my dying HOPE from life’s trails that brought me to my knees, to prayer and on a journey with God but Jesus wooed me with knowledge. The Lord met my curiosity with ready answers through a gentle whisper in my heart, opening the Bible to the passage I needed, encouragement in fellowship and Worship music. Each time I questioned God I was met with love, grace, mercy and peace. The day I was saved I hoped online, opened up Google and typed in these words: I need a case for Christ. Not only is there an amazing series of books called a Case for Christ, For the Real Jesus, For a Creator, a Case for Christ Study Bible and now even a Case for Grace but they are written by a man I grew up reading, Lee Strobel (http://www.leestrobel.com/)! I would spend hours in the library hunkered over the microfiche reading his crime stories, he was a real news man who I respected and admired and now he was also a believer and exactly who God knew I would need to help me understand what I was feeling, learning and desiring!
I have the ultimate HOPE in my Lord and Savior, I live by a blind faith in God but blind does not mean uninformed but rather willing to let Jesus do His work in me in His time, in His way and for His will. Unlike the environment I was raised in, afraid to speak up and ridiculed for always rocking the boat, I am now free to speak to God whenever I want about anything I need. I have always been known to call myself a lifelong student because I love to learn but I have never had more passion for knowledge than I do as a Child of the Most High!
You may not own and regularly read from five study Bibles as I do, or search for even more commentaries online either but a quest for knowledge with God simply starts with opening His word. As it says in our verse today, James 1:5, the Lord rewards our pursuit of wisdom generously. The Bible may have been written thousands of years ago and by men but it is a gift to us today, the ultimate user manual but you must crack it open and that is not just in print form anymore! I have an APP on my phone that reads the Bible to me, so even when I am so sick I can’t open my eyes or sit up I can still have His word wash over me. Don’t believe the lie that you are not smart enough to understand what you are reading or hearing, ask God for insight and help and He will honor that prayer every time. Before I read and study the word I pray Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law” and He has never failed me. Just a few short weeks after coming to Faith I sat in a room with thirty women who knew their Bibles and the sound of them turning right to the passage we were reading was deafening and keeping me from what God had for me in that Bible Study class. I closed my eyes and prayed in my heart for God to help me let Go of that distraction and the next thing I knew the Bible was opening to the exact page I needed! God longs for time with you, Jesus died to have a relationship with you and the Holy Spirit lives inside of you guiding you and praying for you! Open yourself up to the greatest love story ever told, yours and Gods and it is written for you in His word, called the Bible.