The longer I am a Christian, the longer some very well meaning catch phrases annoy me. There are plenty of blog posts on the ol’ blogosphere talking about “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” or “God must have needed an angel” or any other similar ones.
The phrase that really bugs me involves the words “In the word”. It is a catch all solution to every problem that comes our way. I agree that great wisdom can be gleaned from the Bible and I think that we should spend time renewing ourselves in His word. I live with someone, though, that has had this phrase said to him on more than one occasion by other men who are considered to be “holy” or up there with Christ. They might say “You need to be in the Word” when he says “I’m struggling, I’m depressed, God feels so far away”. He hears “you’re a failure, you’re not doing enough, if you were in the Word, you wouldn’t be afflicted by these issues”.
It’s just not true.
I imagine it’s something like this: I fall over board, I can’t swim, I’m losing hope, my head is sinking beneath the waters. I yell out “Help me, help me!” and even though someone on the boat has the tools to get me out of that water, they lean over the side of the boat and say “You just need to be in the Word!” No hand out to bring me out of the water, no life vest, nothing. In fact, they probably wouldn’t even throw me a bible.
Yeah, yeah, I know that’s a little extreme. I think in pictures. I visualize everything!
Christians have a Savior, not a guaranteed easy life. I mean if we all spent time “in the Word”, would our problems magically disappear? NO! Although our time on earth is temporary, we still have to live here and we have to deal with the curveballs thrown to us and the lemons handed to us. We get depressed, discouraged, frustrated, lost, angry, confused, etc. I could go on and on. When I am any of the aforementioned, I get lost in “the Word”. Things blur and I am so consumed with my issue that I don’t even know what I am looking for and I am certainly not finding it.
What I need is a friend to pray. Someone to say “Lord, she feels far from you. Please show yourself to her, remind her that she is never alone and that you have never left. Use people like me to minister to her when she can’t minister to herself or others”. This is what everyone needs. Someone to pray, someone to come along the side of us, someone to throw us a flotation device, to hold our head above water.
In the Word is a great solution, however it is not the only solution. Sometimes God sends one of us to stand in the trenches for our struggling loved ones. Let’s not abdicate our responsibilities as a follower of Christ by saying “You need to get in the Word”, then washing our hands and walking away.
Let’s show what the Word is all about by doing, being and praying.