Discover God’s Love Letter to You
By Leah Chandler
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103 (ESV)
There is an old Jewish tradition that involves giving a child a piece of candy the first time they read the scriptures so that the Word of God will always be sweet to them. I love this idea.
So often we come to study the Bible as though it is an act of drudgery, forgetting that it is living and active, sharper than a double-edged sword, that it is God’s love letter to us.
Years ago, I read through the Bible for the first time, which also meant I read through the Old Testament for the first time. The Sunday school Bible stories of the walls of Jericho tumbling down, Noah’s flood, and Jonah and the big fish came alive in the most horrific ways. The details of these Biblical events were terrifying, I wondered, why would we teach these things to small children and make catchy songs about them?
I finished reading the Old Testament confused. In my youthful estimation, the God of the Old Testament was mean.
I eagerly moved onto the New Testament to be comforted by the waiting arms of Jesus and reassured of my place in His kingdom.
Years later, however, as a wife and a mom, I was struggling to understand how God felt about me, how he felt about his people – overwhelmed by our sinfulness but forgiven by grace. I couldn’t understand how my Loving Father could also be the Holy God of Wrath.
I began to seek answers. I prayed, I talked to friends and pastors, and I still felt unsatisfied and confused. But as I prayed, I was struck with a thought – go back to the beginning and read and understand how He feels about and deals with His people.
So, armed with my Bible and a journal, I began to read from the first page of Genesis. At the top of my journal I wrote, “How does God feel about me?” Each time I read the word, I approached it with this question that needled my heart and wrote down any answers I found.
I was amazed. As I sat there with an open mind and heart, eager to hear from and gain some understanding of my relationship with God (from His side), I got answers.
What was most interesting to me was that the very stories that caused me to think God was mean before, now showed me his mercy and grace. Cain is cast out of the garden for murdering his brother, but God still puts His protection on him. Hagar is cast away from Sarah and Abraham. Her provisions run out and she leaves Ishmael in a bush because she can’t bear to watch him die in her arms, and God intervenes. He saves the boy. He saves her. And He makes a promise to them both. Rachel and Leah are consumed with envy and jealousy, yet God hears them both. He saw that Leah was not loved and blessed her with children. He later saw that Rachel was distraught in her barrenness and blessed her with two sons.
The point that God was showing me over and over again was that we all mess up all the time AND He loves us – ALL the TIME. He acts on our behalf. He reaches out to us even when we’ve turned from him. He sees when we are lonely or outcast or lost and He cares.
As we move through this Lenten season with our desire to draw near to God, let’s study His word, not to put in our time or to gain a knowledge that puffs us up, but to ask God the tough questions that trouble us and to know and be changed by His love.
Is there a question that has been pricking your soul?
Something about God or his ways that has you in a quandary?
I know that some things will remain a mystery until we see Him again, but I wonder if maybe, just maybe, He wants to give you an insight you need to go deeper into His love.
Let’s approach God’s Word with expectancy and hope.
Write this Way: When you open the scriptures, pop a mint in your mouth, take a bite of chocolate, or sip some tea with honey, and remember that this is God’s love letter to you, His child. He has sweet things to tell you today.
About the Author
Leah Chandler is a Chicago girl who came to Muncie to go to Ball State, married her college sweetheart, and then never left. She loves being a mom to four awesome teenagers and two dogs, one of whom is delightfully codependent on her. Leah spends her weeks teaching middle and high school English and weekends running with friends, going on adventures with her family, and feeding her chai addiction. While Leah is relatively new to Commonway, she has loved connecting with the people of the church and diving into the rich community.