I had a strange dream the other night. In this dream, the world was flooding. The entire world. The waters were rising, and we were desperate to find a way to stop it.
I don't remember the particulars of what happened exactly; the dream has faded away. I do, however, remember the feeling of despair and hopelessness that overcame us when we realized we could not stop it. Nothing we mere humans could do was going to stop these waters from rising up and drowning us all. We could not escape high enough. We could not travel far enough. The waters were coming, and we were all going to die.
We did not die because I snapped myself out of it. I did not exactly wake up, but I pulled myself into the half awake half asleep state. I was still terrified. Part of me was convinced I was going to die. I was going to drown in these flood waters that I could not escape. Then in my half asleep half awake state I reminded myself of something,
"God promised He's not going to flood the entire world again. That's what the rainbow means."
As childish as that may sound, I repeated that to myself over and over again until I fell into a dreamless sleep. God's promise calmed me. I knew God would never break His promise, so in His promise I could rest and sleep well.
(Here is where I segue into something deeply spiritual, right? Or maybe I'm just going to start talking about skate boarding monkeys....No you're right. We're going to talk about God.)
God never breaks His promises. Ever. The world has never completely flooded again like it did during Noah's time. I can overcome a basic and primitive fear of drowning by a world sized flood by reminding myself that its not going to happen. God won't let it. Maybe where I live might flood, but the entire world? Not a chance.
This world flooding promise God made is one I learned probably in Sunday School when I was two. We probably colored pictures of Noah's ark and drew rainbows. It is a promise that has been ingrained in me since before I knew what God's promises meant. I never have to fear a world flood, because I know God promises He won't let it happen.
I wish I was just as familiar with God's other promises.
I wish all of God's promises were engraved on my heart because I had studied them so many times. I wish that when I woke up in the middle of the night from some other scary dream I could pull one of God's promises out of my repertoire to remind myself that God will never let it happen. But I can't. I don't know all of God's promises. My Bible literacy is very low on the grand scale of things. Do I know all the stories? Yes. Could I probably describe the whole new testament to you? Yes. Have I ever just sat down and read the entire thing? Well....the answer is probably no. And forget the Old Testament. Read the entire Old Testament? Are you crazy? Have you ever tried to read Numbers? Good luck.
The fact that I "know" all the stories is a stumbling block to actually reading them. The boring counts in Numbers and the laws laid out in Leviticus cause me to close my Bible and pull out a more "exciting" book. But what can be more exciting than reading God's word? Than seeing His promises to His people and to all of Mankind? Why can't I make myself read the Bible when I can make myself read the Hunchback of Notre Dame (I don't recommend that one by the way. Talk about a bitter ending. No sweetness at all).
I always start out convinced that this time I will read all four gospels in one month, but then I realize how busy I am. And though I'm never too busy to read Brandon Sanderson's new book, I am just too busy to read the Bible.
I wish I knew the answer. I wish I knew how to overcome my lack of Bible knowledge. Part of me wants to go to seminary and take Bible classes so that they have to make me read it, just like my professors make me read every aerospace book written by John Anderson. But I want to want to read it. I want to be filled with a burning passion that mere human boredom can not overcome.
Maybe that starts with making myself do it. Maybe if I set aside time each day just to read it - like I did for Hunchback of Notre Dame - eventually I'll find myself engrossed in it. Maybe.
It never hurts to try, and maybe I have just never tried hard enough.
Maybe this time I'll focus on God's promises, and maybe this time I'll make it through Numbers.