"I'm not getting anything out of reading the Bible."
"I read and sense nothing from God. Literally nothing."
"These verses have nothing to do with what I'm going through."
"I feel dry and empty reading, and then I get frustrated. It seems pointless."
I thought or vocalized all of the above statements. During my dark night of the soul (more on that in another post), this was my daily mantra. I would read to check a box - literally and figuratively - and feel nothing. No comfort. No power. No hope. This went on for days which turned into weeks and then years.
I'm not even sure why I kept reading. It was a duty. A sense of obligation. I had no desire to pray or to read. But at a minimum, I could read without having to maintain a conversation.
Long gone were times of doing a legit devotional or Bible study. The thoughts and opinions of other believers with eloquent phrases and elaborate illustrations only added to the distaste in my mouth of this Christian journey. Thus, I read only the Scriptures.
Susceptible to seclusion and apathy, I chose a read-through-the-bible-in-a-year plan. The perfect check-a-box accountability partner.
Year one. Check.
Year two. Check.
Year three. Check.
Moving into year four, deliberation began. Why would I continue this holy trek if it was ineffective? Day in and day out. Tediously clicking each box on the YouVersion app with little to no inspiration to continue. So I quit.
However, something strange happened. Similar to eating the same comforting breakfast day after day or not being able to leave the house without brushing your teeth. The lack of my daily reading habit left me empty and wanting. I was hungry and I felt the effects - physically, mentally, and spiritually. So less than 2 weeks after quitting, I started the annual plan again.
Deep breath. It felt so good and right and...hold on, it felt ? Interesting... my heartless routine was producing heartfelt dependence.
Throughout year four, God kindly revealed to me that His Word - the very words of every verse - is alive and active [For the word of God is living and powerful. Hebrews 4:12]. Therefore, it was sustaining me whether I "felt" it or not.
Like... an IV. You know, the kind you get in a hospital.
Flashback moment || Super pregnant with my third child, I got the flu. I could hold nothing down and became severely dehydrated and lethargic. An IV was administered immediately upon our arrival to the emergency room.
Now, I love a well-cooked steak with roasted vegetables accompanied by a good glass of Pinot Noir. Slowly savoring each bite with it's aroma and flavors. This IV gave me none of that. No experience, no textures, and no taste. But it was this intravenous fluid regulation that provided nourishment and promoted healing.
The Lord was showing me that His Word does the same - provides nourishment and promotes healing - even when I have no sensation of satisfaction. Hence, the craving when the IV was removed and I relinquished reading.
In the years since, my dependence has turned to adoration. I now read the Bible in its entirety at least once a year, maybe more (that's in next week's blog). My heart and mind cherish it's every word - yes, even Leviticus. The drip has become dinner - in fact, a full-on feast - bursting with experience, texture, and taste.
So don't quit. Read, read, and then read some more.
Do not rely on your deceptive heart [Jeremiah 17:9] which will try to convince you "this is waste of time." Do not escape to fleeting diversions - like Netflix or the fridge or your ex. Do not wait for a hunger or a thirst - only trust that this bread will nourish and this water will satisfy.
Whether you taste it or not.