At first I was unaware of the controversial pieces. After sensing God in the stars, I studied the book of Romans - and loved it.
Then I loved the biblical stories as told by my father. He didn't just read the Bible for devotions ever day, he referred to the patriarch Abraham often - to the point that I sometimes felt Abraham lived in our house.
Then in high school, I read Kings - and some of the other books in the Old Testament.
After that, I had a private conversation with God.... I think it was in grade 12 - when I said. "God, - as an author your books doesn't hang together - there is a distinct difference between the old and the new. Frankly the old is ugly. You are a divided God - you don't make sense. Dreadful book."
These were very harsh words for a "want to be" author.
The heavens closed on me - and so did the book. I became extremely selective - discarding the old and slightly suspicious of the new.
Third year Bible school, I took this amazing systematic theology course, that unpacked the difference of the Old and New and why. There is an explanation. I was so relieved. I gained a tremendous respect for an author that could write a book spanning so many years, generations, cultures and theme, and yet have it reflect the whole.
After that - I understood the theme - the plan.... And it became my self-help book, my story book, my mystery book - my comfort book.
It wasn't always easy to apply. I remember having a crisis in my faith in Bible school, and was told by my friends that I just needed to hide in the attic and read the Bible till I found the answer. They were on one end of the dorm attic - praying for me and I was on the other end. I think I read the entire New Testament that night -- and at the end -- as the sun was rising, I found the answer. I can't remember the question - but I do remember the elation.
We were so excited.
When Candace disappeared, I took to reading the Bible late at night - until I found comfort.
The Word lives -- especially around 3 o'clock at night -- when the rest of the world is sleeping and the darkness of the night has seeped into my soul. That's when those dreadful explicit passages connect with me, and reassure me that God - is aware. That God has a plan... many plans. They aren't just any old plans... they are holy.
When I was younger I was annoyed that I couldn't understand it all - or remember it all.
Now I am comforted that I can't contain the entire Bible in my head and that I can't conquer it.
It will always remain slightly elusive and bigger than me. It is bigger than any one person which is why the exploration of it - can last a life time.
I still like the mystery - the vastness of it's metaphors, the challenge of its authors. I want something bigger than myself - and I'm comforted by its vastness.
If I were to describe my faith - it would definitely include the Living Word of God.
“She liked the word ineffable because it meant a feeling so big or vast that it could not be expressed in words.
And yet, because it could not be expressed in words, people had invented a word to express it, and that made Liesl feel hopeful, somehow.” - Lauren Oliver