Name above all

part two…

 

i’m currently reading “east of eden.”  i’ve not been able to put it down. when i’m not working or reading my Bible, i’m pouring over the words of steinbeck. it is a beautiful marriage of prose, philosophy, sociology, history and storytelling. it’s what a great novel should be.

i have been knocked over by many things as i’ve read the pages of this book. many things i could talk about here, but i want to focus on 2 really important ideas from the chapter i just finished. if you’ve never read the book, fear not, i’m very against unsuspectingly happening upon spoilers myself, so i’m not going to share much of the story or content.

 

the context: a few of the characters open up an old Bible, one that was handed down to the wife of one of the men from her mother.

number 1.

“this one has been scraped and gnawed at,” he said. “i wonder what agonies have settled here. give me a used Bible and i will, i think, be able to tell you about a man by the places that are edged with the dirt of seeking fingers.”

it’s a very simple text that elicits immediate personal reflection. as soon as i read that, i stopped and thought about a few things. the first, selfishly, being what would someone deduce about me if they picked up my Bible to read? what would my markings and scribblings and highlighting and notes tell them about me?

i didn’t have an answer for that, because immediately i began thinking about something else.

what are the actual possibilities of this scenario playing out today? with technology making it rare to read an actual paper Bible, will people begin passing down their phones and ipads with highlighted material or thoughts, giving their ilk windows into their lives and relationships with God?

can anyone truly know and understand someone else’s relationship with God?

it should be true that our lives be a reflection of Christ in us. Scripture tells us that as we live, people should be able to see Christ, see the work He has done in us, see that we are examples of how He lived and how He cared for others. but that doesn’t necessarily mean people will see all of our struggles, our doubts, our personal prayers that sometimes go unsaid that only Jesus knows. those things are often not reflected in our daily living, unless we are committed to total transparency with other believers. and even then, are we ever truly, completely transparent with anyone other than Jesus?

maybe it’s true that the worn, tear stained pages of our personal Bibles can lend a small insight to the scripture we hold or held most near and dear to our hearts. perhaps, if someone were to peek inside and see my many highlights, circles and underlines in the Gospels, they would see clearer my desire to understand Jesus as a human living on this earth so that I could better follow His example. but truthfully, I hope that this would be evident in how I live, and my current desire is for my life to be a reflection of what I know to be true in Scripture. that I would not leave highlights, scribbles and underlines as a way to preserve a memory of what I thought “most important” in my walk with Christ, but that those highlights, scribbles and underlines would be a reinforcement to what you see in my everyday walk.

because I’m an old soul, i relish the idea of passing down my Bibles for others to potentially understand my own story a little better. the historian in me thinks it is an interesting notion of legacy, and i’m now intrigued to find out if my own family has anything that would allow me new insight.

and I suppose now I’m just thinking about the many people who have recorded much of their lives in conjunction to their reading of the Word. How many journals and diaries and prayer books have been filled by saints who are desperate to know more of God. and how thankful i am for people who have thought to publish some of those writings for all of us to share in the wisdom and understanding God has blessed people with throughout history.

 

number 2.

“this one has been scraped and gnawed at,” he said. “i wonder what agonies have settled here. give me a used Bible and i will, i think, be able to tell you about a man by the places that are edged with the dirt of seeking fingers.”

we cannot have writings, meanderings or reflection without first seeking to understand. so what i love about the visual here is that it speaks so much about the life and action of a pursuant relationship.with the dirt of life on our hands, we continually go back to God’s Word for truth, comfort, peace, understanding. we seek after questions AND answers. we seek to know more about Jesus and His ministry on earth. we seek to understand both God’s wrath and His compassion for His people. we seek solace in the words God offers the enslaved, the marginalized, the poor and thirsty souls.

we seek.

and we seek with hands dirtied by lives of sin, covered in grace. it says so much about who we are and who God is.

we seek with life’s dirt, and we find God’s grace. and mercy. and sovereignty. His goodness and His faithfulness.

 

at this point in the book, three men are talking about the story of cain and abel. they are trying to understand. and they each have a different approach to reach that understanding. ultimately, they don’t agree on an understanding of the story. but they do agree that it is a story of us all, in some way. and i think about how often i read the Bible and am left without understanding. i used to become annoyed by that. but through my own sanctification process, God has shown me that i don’t need to understand it all, and in fact i will never completely understand everything God has ever said or done. that’s not the point of this life or relationship. the point, i think, is in the seeking itself. because it’s in the seeking where we find complete rest and satisfaction simply in knowing God.

 

 

so, here’s to the pages of the millions of Bibles, edged with the dirt of seeking fingers. and because of where i currently am geographically, i am praying for millions more to have the chance to seek after God with their dirty fingers of life on those pages.

 

 

Praise Him all you sinners
Sing oh sing you weary
Oh praise Him all you children of God
We lift high His glory
Shown throughout our stories
We praise Him as the children of God

Hallelujah, Name above all, simply to speak Your Name is praise…

 

 

(all sons and daughters- rising sun)

One thought on “Name above all”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *