I’m trying to commit to a more regular routine of “quiet times.” I know that having a time set aside for Bible study and prayer doesn’t make me a Christian. I used to think it made me a better Christian, or in my case, a worse Christian because I never actually got around to doing it, but my thinking has been changing around that lately. I kind of think that when I consider quiet times a key to improving my Christianity, that in fact they become an idol, and I cut myself off from the communion with God that these times provide. It became more about getting it done than about talking to God. The reality is that I should have daily quiet times, but not because it makes me a better Christian, but because I need to talk to and hear from God.
Anyway, in the busyness that is life these days, I’ve been neglecting my times with God in favor of a little more sleep, or (worse) some time in front of the T.V. My soul was literally yearning for God. After weeks of passing my Bible by on my way to bed, I finally sat down, turned to Intervarsity’s Quiet Time Bible Study
Those who cling to worthless idols
forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
But I, with a song of thanksgiving,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
Salvation comes from the LORD.
– Jonah 2: 8-10
I love how, once he is thrown into the belly of the whale, Jonah’s heart shifts. Isn’t that the truth for so many of us? Only when our backs are against the wall do we come to see the error of our ways. How clear the truth becomes when we are in that spot that in truth, “salvation comes from the LORD.” I was struck too though, by the line that kicks off that section of Jonah’s prayer, “those who cling to worthless idols, forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” I find myself in this place constantly. I am ashamed to say that there are an embarrassing number of things that I value more than I value God. And how true is it, that when I am in the midst of chasing after idols, that I give up or lose track of the grace that is mine in Christ? How I long to live in the place where grace alone reigns over my life!
I’m struggling to find a neat way to wrap up this post. Some string to tie these thoughts together into a nice little package. It doesn’t seem to be there though, so perhaps I’ll just leave you with this… I may not be there yet, but I am grateful for a God who promises to pursue my heart to the end, and I’m grateful that He will not leave me, even when I am disobedient, even when I question His ways, even when I run. I pray that slowly, but surely, He will begin to change my heart, and I stake my claim on the promise that He will do it.