Today's chapter was equally inspirational. This chapter literally breathed. I felt connected and drawn along by the words as I walked through it with my daughters, glancing up to make eye contact, like holding hands as we ventured into a forest of thoughts. They scribbled notes as I spoke, and I reveled in the joy of seeing this. Each chapter focuses on a quality of God, and those who know all three of the fairer sex within our home might find it humorous that this particular one was titled: unbelievably stubborn.
It's ok to smile.
The author, Margaret, speaks of a book she has read and then passed along to her husband titled The Burning Word. In it, she learns of a rich Jewish tradition called midrash which invites deep exploration - including study, reflection, and debate - of the Scriptures. From the book:
"Midrash reads the Hebrew Bible not for what is familiar but for what is unfamiliar, not for what's clear but for what's unclear, and then wrestles with the text, passionately, playfully, and reverently. Midrash views the Bible as one side of a conversation, started by God, containing an implicit invitation, even command, to keep the conversation - argument, story, poem - going.In Hebrew, Midrash means to search out. Midrash asks the reader to find those quirky, oddball Scriptures and inconsistencies and try to make sense of them before God. It challenges us to explore that which we do not know in order to better understand the One we want to know.
Midrash invites us to have a little chutzpah with the Bible.... I am invited into the depth of Scripture - to trade in a surface understanding for a deeper grasp of a passage's meaning. Sometimes when I finish midrash, I discover that I know less than I thought I did, but even in that, I actually know more than I did when I started."
Yes, yes, yes! I feel like I have found the word I didn't know was out there for this particular aspect of a living, vital thing called relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit God. He wants us to interact with Him. The fact is, when we are really honest we have to admit that we come with lots of questions, with loads of hang-ups and baggage, and we're not quite sure that He would really want to get into certain things with us. And when we are really totally honest, we admit all of that and wonder if He is really up to all we could bring to Him.
I know that there have been times when I have wondered if He can really handle me and all my stuff. But what I've found when I have finally gotten myself to that place where my desire for Him outpaces the fears and doubts of my own heart - is that He can. In point of fact, He really is able. When I have stepped out, sometimes in faith, at other times more in hope, He has caught me, been enough, seen me through, given me answers, and provided richly. The last line in the old hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness comes to mind, "Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside." He is more than able.
And He invites all my midrash. All I can say is, thanks be to God.