why you should read your Bible {even when you’re mad at God}

Bible

It was spring. The snow was melting and forming puddles in the driveway, curling little trails toward the dip on the edge where it disappeared into the brown grass. Sunlight filtered off the muddied piles of leftover ice and warmed the skin on my face. But I couldn’t feel it.

Icy hardness still reigned in my heart, even after all this time. I was filled up tight with anger and frustration. Mornings would come and I would wake up crying. Afternoons passed and I would curl into a ball on the couch. Evenings would be soft and painful until I could escape to bed, where I lay quiet and fearful, muffling my sobs and letting my tears soak the pillow under my head. Spring held no joy that year.

Days came when I stood alone in the kitchen and spoke loud at the heavens. “God, where are you? I follow, I serve, I give. Yet, still, I hurt and hurt and hurt.”

Silence spun anger into my heart.

She wrote words to me that summer, while the grass grew tall and deep. Purple paper and a calligraphy pen, one torn and the other dipped in black, black ink. She said I was blessed and highly favored.

I laughed at the absurdity.

I knew the words of Scripture. Knew them well. Over and over I had read through the Bible, as a teenager, as a young adult. I had memorized and studied. Greek and Hebrew words were scrawled into the margins of my Bible.

I thought I knew His words so well, thought it high time He listened to a few of mine.

I left my Bible to gather dust on the corner of the desk and spoke my words into the blackness.

Summer slipped away and fall began. Orange and red leaves covered forest floors and I toughened and bit back my tears. But then as winter once more lifted her icy fingers, I knew I could not survive another season.

I peeled back the pages and began reading again.

The stories danced, the Word deepened. What I thought I knew so well seemed to change shape before my eyes. The book of Genesis, the story of creation and the foundation of Israel, turned into a narrative of heartbreak. Jeremiah, the tale of a weeping prophet, became the journal of a crying God.  Job, that book full of depression and confusion, the one that went on and on and on… It became a window into my heart and God’s words from the heavens shook me to my core.

The Word of God never changes. Ever.
But I do.

My circumstances and experiences draw lines under words. They highlight thoughts and translate ideas.

To think that I could live today on what I knew from yesterday was a foolish and empty thought. Like manna, the Word is new every morning. We can only eat enough for today, this moment. Tomorrow we must return and dig deep again.

Isaiah 55:3 @natashametzler

By the time I watched spring again, I had tasted spring in my heart. I felt the morning sun, bathed in rays of delight. She was right, you know, the one who penned those words on torn paper. Blessed and highly-favored. Me.

I laugh at the beautiful absurdity of it all.

If all my writings put together could do but one thing, I pray that it be this: You will open your Bible and start reading. Even if you’re confused. Even if you’re angry. Even if you don’t understand it. Because the Word builds up and builds up and builds up. And what makes no sense today, will painted pictures of redemption tomorrow. 

Have you experienced this? How has your understanding of Scripture changed with your growth and experiences?

To read about what God spoke to me when I journeyed through Scripture that first time after struggling with depression and infertility, just sign up for my newsletter and receive a free copy of my ebook, Dying of Thirst at the Side of a Well. 

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31 thoughts on “why you should read your Bible {even when you’re mad at God}

  1. YES I have experienced this, twice. As a kid who grew up in the church I thought I pretty much knew what the Bible said at 13. I went through a period of depression in Jr. High and started telling people I no longer believed in God. A Preacher’s wife gave me a NKJV Spirit Filled Bible and my eyes were opened! Then after I had my son I went through Post Partum Depression and I went through it alone. That was a dark time filled with baby coos and smiles. Thankfully I started going to church again so that my son would grow up knowing God. Eventually (6mn later) I picked my Bible back up and found some scriptures that seemed new even though I know I had to have read them before.
    For the rest of my story visit my Testimony Page- http://failingathaiku.wordpress.com/about/my-personal-testimony/

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  2. Thank you for this, Natasha. I’ve been going through a very dry season in my life these past few months. Lacking the water of the Word. Just this morning, during what was an unusually peaceful start to the day, I felt the Spirit pricking me that today should be the day I picked up my well-worn Bible once again and explored God’s words to me. Your timely post was like a hug from a friend, encouraging me to do just that.

    Blessings.

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  3. I think you may have jump started my heart……I’ve been angry with God for quite a season. Angry with him because he hasn’t blessed my husband and I with children. Angry that my life didn’t go the way I thought it was supposed to go. I’ve been parched, now it’s time to drink of his Word. Thank you!

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  4. Oh Natasha…such words 🙂

    On a funny note….I still use the same NIV Teen Study Bible that I had as a teen {obviously}. What’s funny is seeing the words that I highlighted 15 years ago and how my perception of those words has changed over time.

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  5. The Word builds up and builds up and builds up. I love this. And, I forget this too often. Thank you for writing these beautiful words and reminding me to go back to the well. Beautiful writing!

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  6. What beauty! Your words took me back to my own times of pain. His Words to me in those times were balm to my soul. I love what you said here, “My circumstances and experiences draw lines under words. They highlight thoughts and translate ideas. . .
    To think that I could live today on what I knew from yesterday was a foolish and empty thought. Like manna, the Word is new every morning. We can only eat enough for today, this moment. Tomorrow we must return and dig deep again.”

    I’m so glad you left a comment on my page today so that I come to your blog and read this. I look forward to reading more!

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  7. So, so good, Natasha. I loved this “To think that I could live today on what I knew from yesterday was a foolish and empty thought. Like manna, the Word is new every morning. We can only eat enough for today, this moment. Tomorrow we must return and dig deep again.”

    So, so, sooo true!!

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    • Thanks, Christin. I am so often reminded of this– and I am so thankful that He returns with fresh water, fresh life, each day.

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  8. you wrote this very well. such a story of heartbreaking silence, screaming in that empty kitchen. oh, i get that.
    and i’m glad that you are finding life again in the Bible. but i hope i can suggest something without being disagreeable. there *is* a time where some kinds of healing need to be ministered to by the Spirit of the Living God aside from the words on a page. He can certainly speak THRU the words written, but that is not the only way that He speaks. as is true with most theology, this opinion of mine is really a statement of autobiography. we have come from a situation where the Bible was used as a weapon more than a balm; a place of stringent legalistic adherence. and it takes time away from the source of the injury to heal sometimes. i find myself wincing at Scriptures, much like an abused child will recoil at the extension of even a gentle adult hand. this has become a season for us of finding that God can heal and speak in ways we never expected. He stretches to meet us right where we’re at — ALWAYS. this is the Gospel i bet my life on.
    again, i do not want to oppose the heart of your post, or disregard the validity of your experience. just wanted to humbly offer my viewpoint, in the interest of a larger picture, perhaps. blessings on your journey.

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    • Oh, Kelli, I think you are so, so right. The Holy Spirit has and will continue to speak beyond the Words of Scripture.

      The thing that I found though, was that I quickly forgot what His voice sounds like when I wasn’t comparing the things I heard with the truth of Scripture. My mind and heart filled with so many other things, so much of my own hurt and heartache, and I could not hear Him.

      I got to the place where I was searching for anything, anything that would let me escape my pain. And it wasn’t truth. Not at all.

      I know that many have abused the Word of God– I have sludged through my own experiences of Spiritual abuse– but I also know of many who have gotten very lost and embraced something other than the God I serve in search of obliterating their pain.

      Jesus is. End of story. And the Bible is still the most trustworthy witness we have of His life and His teachings and His love.

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  9. This has really hit home for me. I am am struggling through singleness, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, job hunting etc, and hosts of confusion, fear and doubt about so many things in my life have been camping at my heart’s door for the past couple of years.

    I am angry. Nothing in my life has turned out the way I thought it would turn out. A lot of the struggles I’m going through I was never even warned could happen. (Growing up in a lovely homeschooled family I think my parents just expected their daughters would get married – it seemed like a certain thing in their mind.)

    I haven’t touched my Bible in weeks. I feel so horrible admitting it – I am a preacher’s daughter & granddaughter! But it’s true. I don’t even know where to try to start reading again. 😦

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    • Oh, my, I understand this feeling.
      When all you planned on for life just gets swept right away.
      Wish I could give you a hug.

      Start with John 9. It is one of the chapters that began wiping the blindness out of my eyes.

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  10. You said “If all my writings put together could do but one thing, I pray that it be this: You will open your Bible and start reading. Even if you’re confused. Even if you’re angry.” you have spoken right to my heart. I shall be returning for more of your wisdom.

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  11. I love this post. I so resonate with the notion of “knowing what the Bible says” because you have grown up in church! I’ve never read my Bible during the times that I have been angry with God, because I just simply wasn’t walking with God at the time. But, in the past year or two, God really convicted me about being faithful about being in His Word, and I understand the heart of this post. It is about trust. You keep reading because you are keeping yourself open to hearing from God, even if you are scared of being hurt. You keep reading and hearing from God because you have faith that His words are true. Reading His word is simply an action that says “I trust You today”.

    I loved the line where you compared His Word to manna. Wow, that opened my eyes! I’m glad you are so desirous to encourage others to get into the Word, because truly that is where our faith grows. His Word is what changes us into His image.

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    • Oh, you said this so well! It is about trust. Exactly.

      I’m so glad that you were encouraged and so thankful that you took a moment to comment– because this beautiful comment has encouraged me so greatly in return! {hugs}

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