It's Not What You Expect . . .
I was leading a discussion with some teenagers recently about a passage from the book of Acts. In the story, Paul and Silas had been thrown into prison for casting a demon out of a fortune-telling, slave girl (Acts 16). It was late at night, and they were locked up tight in an inner dungeon with their feet in stocks, but they were praying and worshipping God. A massive earthquake struck, the doors of the prison flew open, and the chains fell off all of the prisoners. Then the jailer woke up and thought all the prisoners had escaped, so he pulled out his sword to kill himself….
At this point in the story, one of the boys interrupted and said completely spontaneously, “What kind of a story is this?!?!”
I had to laugh. Somehow it was not what he was expecting. Welcome to the Bible. Stories of real people with out of control problems who really manage to mess things up sometimes (actually a lot of the time). Sound familiar? Here was a story of panic and suicide, not cuddly puppies and teddy bears.
There was a time in my own life when I was really struggling and felt like the Bible didn’t have anything to say to my situation. Now that strikes me as near lunacy. I mean, was I blind? Maybe I was. I did not remember the people like Naomi who had lost practically everything and everyone and returned home in shame, loss, and despair (in the book of Ruth). So many stories from the Bible tell about strugglers like me. And, even more wonderfully, the Bible seems to go on and on about God’s unfailing love. On dark days, I might forget that, but it is all right there whether I am expecting it or not.
How has the Bible been different than you expected?
How has it changed your life?