The Chinese have a different animal representing every year. We've all heard "The Year of the Horse" or "The Year of the Tiger." For me, this has been "The Year of the Tough Books"! Let me explain....
God in His wisdom has led me through some of the "tough books" in the Bible this year for my quiet time with Him! You know - those books full of genealogies and prophecies - the ones you were tempted to skim through for your required reading for your Old Testament Survey class in Bible College? Okay, let's be honest, maybe some of us Bible College graduates DID skim through those books! Perhaps it's just the season of life that I am currently in, perhaps I appreciate these books more now that I'm older. Whatever the reason, I am here to tell you that I am thankful for the Old Testament books God has led me to read this year!
Looking back through my Bible reading journal, I am blessed to see all the nuggets God has given me from these books - books like 1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles, Leviticus, Jeremiah, Ezekiel. Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying - ALL the Bible is a blessing, but God has allowed these particular books of the Bible to be SPECIAL blessings to me this year!
Right now I am reading through Ezekiel. Yesterday I read chapter 36 and today I was in chapter 37. What a blessing to see God's heart for Israel! It was a particular blessing to me to see God's heart in the matter of restoration - how He longs to draw not only Israel close to Himself, but us also! I know the book of Ezekiel was written to Israel, but how precious to know that my Lord wants to include ME in the blessings and applications of those precious promises! He is waiting to include ANY person in those same blessings and promises!
As I read these verses, I began to think about the ministry the Lord has allowed us to have here in Peru. For the past 2 years, He has allowed us to work alongside hurting people. It is not a ministry I would ever have imagined (or maybe even chosen), but what a joy and blessing to be used as a channel to bring healing and restoration to hurting people! I will miss the Deaf of Callao. And yet...I look forward to the ministry that God has for us in Iquitos.
My heart breaks when I think of all the hurting people there are around me - hurting for different reasons...a life of sin, a rebellious child, unsaved family members, offenses from a brother or sister in Christ...the list goes on and on. How comforting it is to rest in God's promise of love and care! How sweet to see God's heart and concern for the hurting! How blessed to see God's desire for restoration! How humbling to think that I can let God use me to bring healing to those around me!
Have there been some tough moments reading through these Old Testament books? YES!! Some days I struggle to understand as I read through the genealogies and the prophecies. But this I can say...just when I start to give in to the despair of not understanding, the Lord gives me one verse or sometimes a whole chapter that is such a blessing and encouragement! My heart rejoices when the Lord shows me these wonderful treasures from His Word. It is exciting to see how these verses apply to my life and the situations I face every day. I can honestly say that I am grateful the Lord has given me "The Year of the Tough Books" for my quiet time with Him!