Is it normal to wander into the kitchen and open the refrigerator multiple times while you are standing there? (I’m asking for a friend.)
It’s a mindless, yet hopeful habit. Who knows? Maybe something new to eat will appear when that little light comes on again.
In a similar manner, I tend to treat the Bible like a fridge. Sometimes I stare at the words, and I can’t see that the light is shining because I’ve forgotten what I was there for, and my mind has wandered off.
Sometimes I aimlessly rummage around in different places, not quite sure what I’m hungry for. Sometimes after opening and re-opening the Scriptures — studying, praying, and pounding on the same text over and over for an extended period of time — the Spirit of God illumines something that I had never seen before, and it is exquisitely satisfying to my soul.
And then there are the times when a friend comes alongside me, opens up the Bible, and the brilliant light of truth shines in my heart. I remember an occasion when this exact thing happened to me as a new mom.
Pass the Truth, Please
It was the first time I had given birth in the foreign country where we live. When we brought baby Norah home from the hospital, I remember looking in the rearview mirror to see both of our little girls strapped into their car seats. That’s when the first feeling of being overwhelmed hit me. Then, after the last of the dishes were returned from all the meals our fellow church members brought over, it hit me again. For lots of reasons, the new normal for our family required physical and emotional energy I didn’t have. And sadly, my spiritual life was like the aimless rifling through the fridge, and I was teetering on the edge of apathy about it.
That’s when God sent my friend Melanie to my living room. She also was a new mom, and she brought her two toddlers along with her on a visit to our apartment. Her son and my daughter colored pictures at the coffee table while I rehearsed my long list of things-to-worry-about with my friend. She listened as I told her that I had been strongly tempted to neglect God’s word because of all the pressures and anxieties I was experiencing. My desire to have fellowship with God was waning.
Melanie empathized with me because she knew exactly what I was talking about. She didn’t heap judgment on me for feeling like a smoldering wick, or shrug off my concerns. Melanie shared these words:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
She had hidden 1 Corinthians 10:13 in her heart, and it was food for her soul. And as we sat there together, subject to the authoritative and sufficient word of God, that truth was food for my soul. My friend knew that what I needed was what she needed too. We all need a faithful Rescuer who gives us lasting hope and enduring joy, and is not threatened by our ever-changing circumstances. God is faithful. So we talked together about Jesus until it was obvious that our kids needed to take naps.
Share the Feast
Melanie and I live on separate continents now, so she can’t just hop over with her kids for a chat. But every time I think of her, I remember the delightful irony of that afternoon. All I could see was my litany of reasons that I was burdened in such a way that no one could understand or help me. Melanie sat with me and pointed to the light of God’s word. I was reminded that there is no temptation that is strange to our human experience, beyond Christ’s sympathy, or outside of God’s ability to faithfully provide a way of escape.
To the sister in Christ who feels like her “new normal” is competing for her time, energy, and desire for feeding on God’s word, be encouraged. God’s grace to you in Christ is the “new normal” that has been in effect since he caused you to be born again. Neither life nor death can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Because he loves you. That means that even your current circumstances — however exhausting or stressful — are being used by God to serve your joy and his glory.
Sister, he will meet you in your weariness, and he does not despise you.
I wonder if there are any other exhausted women in your life who could use a friend to empathize with them in their struggles. You might be surprised to find out that you aren’t alone. And I know you will be delighted to remember that Jesus has not left you or forsaken you. May he let his light and truth lead you and your friends to him, our exceeding joy (Psalm 43).
More from Gloria Furman: