About a month ago, Dawn and I were sitting in the gym of a church on the north side of Houston. We were gathered with other youth pastors from South Texas, listening to the heart and wisdom of various leaders, one of whom was Heath Adamson. At one point during his message, Mr. Adamson encouraged us to read the Bible through in one month. At first, I thought it was an interesting idea. But when he mentioned it again the next morning I felt that it was something I should try, especially when he gave the reasoning–that it would “change your perspective of God“.
Perspective has become a fundamental issue for us, and is something God has been working in our hearts for several months. It is at the core of the question, “Who are you becoming?” Because how you think (perspective) determines who you become. So, when we returned home that evening, I began reading. I started in Genesis on February 20th and read every day, finishing Revelation a little after midnight on March 20th.
I don’t know where to begin to put into words what I’ve experienced in the last month. I feel like I’ll be spending the better part of a year just trying to unpack and make sense of things. I liken it to going to sleep on the beach and waking up in the middle of the ocean. I understood that God is big, just as I understood that the ocean is big. But on the beach there is at least some frame of reference. However, things change when you wake up and all you see is water.
A month ago, I would have readily told you that I did not, nor could I ever, have God figured out. But I would have at least felt secure in my perspective of Him. Now, I look around and all I see is God’s sovereignty–there is no shore, and my understanding is completely unanchored.
However, I am more resolute, more anchored in this: That God is love, and His word–beginning to end–is a revelation of that love. In the midst of all the questions I’ve come away with, and all the things God is working in my spirit, there are three overarching things that have become adamant in my heart:
- The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is absolute absurdity…if you don’t understand the heart of the Father.
- The New Testament as a whole, as well as our new life in Christ, makes no sense apart from the active power and working of the Holy Spirit.
- There is absolutely no difference between God in the Old Testament and God in the New Testament.
This last point is actually where I want to begin. I’m sure that as Christians, we all believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. However, I also understand that most Christians are biased towards the revelation of the Father in the New Testament verses the Old. But here’s the thing…the One who said, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) is the same One who told the Israelites to devote Jericho to destruction (Joshua 6:17). And the One who said, “…and I will strike her children dead” (Revelation 2:23) also said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).
I am still resolute on this fact, that every word from my Father is truth, and every word is a revelation of His love. I don’t know how else to say it…my understanding is adrift in His sovereignty, but my identity is anchored in His love.