As a Christian I believe that I have a relationship with God and that through prayer I can communicate with the trinity. I also have the privilege of hearing from the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: in stillness, through other people and through the pages of the Bible. I believe that the Bible is the word of God and although it was written in a different time to different and diverse cultures that the truth and the message are still applicable and transformative today.
But like any relationship, this one takes time, effort and commitment. I have no problem carving out time for friends that I meet with face to face. And so i’ve had to learn how to schedule devoted time to seek God’s face. Many Christians set aside morning time for God. I’ve heard many people say that it helps them to start their day out right and it is them easier not to forget it at some other time. However, while I was in PNG the morning was usually get up and go. In town that was market time or we were taking advantage of the clear skies to get laundry done or taking advantage of the daylight to get work and other errands completed. And in the village, there was the morning radio sched and neighbors visiting and all sorts of other distractions. Depending on where I was I had to set aside time in another part of my day. In the village this was often the afternoon right after lunch. The village was usually quiet and there was time before the afternoon work to just sit on the back porch, read my Bible, pray and listen. In Ukarumpa I usually set aside time at night right before bed. It was sweet to contemplate my day, read my Bible and pray before I slept.
So the point here is that I’ve had to adapt and change to my circumstances but I’ve also made it a priority to find what works. Once back in the US I struggled for many reasons and finally settled on a system that is working for me. While reading my Bible, I often found it discouraging when I would miss a day or two or 5 and come back just to have forgotten what I was reading. This made me not want to start again, like when you see your friend who you’ve been meaning to call at the store and part of you wants to hide in another aisle because you’re embarrassed that it hasn’t happened. To counteract this I began to write down what I was reading, along with one daily prayer and committed to read through the Bible, not in 3 months, not in a year but until I was done. I’m finally (after 3-ish years) seeing the finish line to this commitment. After reading through some more proverbs and a few more of the minor prophets, I will have read through the Bible once again.
It takes effort and commitment to grow my relationship with God. However, it is worth it because I am getting to know the God of the universe. The words of the Bible are his message to mankind as well as his message to me personally. What an amazing gift.