I miss West Texas days. The year my wife and I lived there, most mornings were the same—clear blue skies. No surprises. It was perfect weather for the upkeep of a brown/orange, arid landscape.
I also miss the kind of health I had as a twenty-something. Invulnerability was a given. No teeth problems, no weight problems, and my doctor visits were limited to injuries—like when I broke my toe while chasing my cat through the house.
Life doesn’t continue down the level, idyllic pathway for long. We moved from West Texas to Ohio in the mid-eighties, and didn’t find blue skies there. Gray gloom hung overhead. Hard, crusty ice lay underfoot. Even when winter grudgingly receded, spring continued to be an experience of four seasons in one day.
And as for my health, invulnerability has a limited shelf-life. Lab results began reporting a climb in my cholesterol levels. Kidney stones, life’s little exclamation marks, started making appearances.
Although the Bible is eternal, and timeless in its truth, it contains great diversity and flexibility throughout its pages. We find in it the fixed features of Law, the flow of descriptive histories, the pause of reflective wisdom, the subjective spikes and drops of poetry, the expectations of prophecy, and the precision of teaching.
These seem to intentionally move with our roiling, swelling, ebbing situations of life. When God gave His Word, He did so knowing our days would not be the same, or at least they wouldn’t be for very long.
The last several years, I have read the Bible, hopskotching across its various genres, regularly sampling from each according to a schedule. I’m amazed how they manage to minister into every season of life, and just as frequently, equip for something on the horizon I couldn’t yet see.
For instance, while on my recent three week before-during-after vacation jaunt, I encountered such differences of genre, and yet a unified, developing message.
Law (Exodus): Continue to join God, and stay fixed in what He is doing.
Poetry (Psalms): Yes, it is difficult and sometimes sorrowful, but expect vindication, and a great step forward.
Prophecy (Jeremiah): No need for despair. Things will not always be the way they are now.
Gospels (Luke): Expect challenges, but face them without anxiety. God not only knows what is going on, but He wants to be active, in the middle of it.
I realize these sound like vague religious principles, pieces that could be made to fit whatever puzzle is in play. In the interests of my personal privacy, I have withheld plenty of details. I found the actual verses highly specific invitations into new experiences, prayer for things I normally wouldn’t ask, corrections for sour and sarcastic mindsets. And encouragement. Not just the kind to make me feel better, but the type to brace me for (dare I say it?) darker days ahead.
And did I mention timeliness? Sometimes the verses were ahead of my life situations by a day or two.
There’s no better prescription for change than something timeless.