Monday, January 12, 2009

spiritual indigestion

Over the last several weeks, i have been flying through the new testament epistles, soaking up every word, and just enjoying the opportunity to be ministered to by Paul. In nearly every book, he writes in such a way that tells his audience that he truly loves them. Almost effortless, he lines up one encouraging and edifying passage after another. And with such passion! As i read his writings, i notice that so many times, he writes each book as if it were written in one sitting, without letting his pen ever leave the page - from one idea to the next, no time for periods - just get as much God-breathed inspiration on the page as possible! And too often, i catch myself reading the same pace at which Paul writes - which is not a good thing, if you want to chew your food before you swallow, tasting and savoring every morsel, allowing yourself to enjoy it the way it was intended. it's one thing to read in such a way to finish a book; quite another to read until God challenges you with something.

And today, i am suffering from a little bible indigestion. Finishing up 1 Thessalonians, i came to the point where i was simply overwhelmed. Finished 1 & 2 Corinthians. Galatians. Ephesians. Philippians. Colossians. One big bite after another. shoveling one choice bite after another, realizing, "wow! that was great! i need some more of that - wait a minute... what was that that i just ate? I know it was good, but i don't even remember what it tastes like!" As I try to slow down and comprehend what Paul is saying, I only come to realize that in a single bite, i have been swallowing huge banqueting feasts, meant to be eaten slowly - one bite at a time, chewed 30 to 40 times each.

My soul has been acting as my spritual stomach, now suffering from engourgement, and unable to gain any spiritual nourishment because i haven't taken the time to taste my food. "Take your time", i hear God saying. "Have an appetizer. Chew S L O W L Y. Did you taste the spiritual blessing, mixed with a dash of hope, drizzled with peace? it was baked for about an eternity, cooking at about a million-love degrees. Yup - you guessed it. the secret ingredients are mercy and grace. Don't forget to have a drink of the house's choicest wine, grown in the valley of patience and tended to by wisdom and understanding, served in cups of forgiveness. Relax. there's more than enough here for you and all of creation. i'm not running out of spiritual food anytime soon."

When you slow down enough to consider what you're reading, you realize that reading even a whole chapter of certain Paul writtings in one sitting is like processing something with a concentration potent enough to fill VOLUMES of books. And that's where indigestion sets in. Holy cow! i ate way too much! God, i can't deal with so many thoughts, each calling me back to ponder and meditate on every God inspired line. I want to finish everything on my plate, but i know that i can't take another bite until i deal with the single line i just read!

And look at all the food on the table! i can't even see the end of it! How will i ever finish all of this food? One bite at a time Lord, reveal to me what ever it is that you want me to focus on. I know that each bite is filled with so many wonderful ingredients, but which one do you want me to taste right now? Teach me to savor each bite, each chewing motion. Help me not to swallow too soon, so i don't miss the moment where you reveal that flavor that you want me to taste.

No comments: