Grace · Hope

A Beautifully-Rewarding Challenge

“Read the Bible in 90 days”, they said.

“It’s going to be great,” they said.

“Just read, don’t try to cross-reference,” they said.

And I said, “are they crazy?”

No, I said YES!

Y’all-in order to read the Bible in 90 days-you have to read 12 pages a day. That seemed easy enough. Ha!  Reading novels, or even easy readers to my littlest, 12 pages go by fast. But I was in for a shock. I had seriously-no-grossly underestimated how long it would take me to read the 12 pages.

As a side note, I tend toward a strict adherence to rule following, so I’ve been known to do things with improper motives. Like, instead of doing bible study homework to gain a deeper understanding, I would rush through it as more of checklist item. Ok, finished 5 days of homework…CHECK!  Mind you, when this is my motive, very little is retained. So I knew I didn’t want to take this challenge as a way of “checking it off the list”, but more to gain insight into the character of God.

When you first fall in love with a celebrity, pop star, boyfriend/girlfriend, or a breed of dog-you spend a lot of time looking at it. You obsess about how cute/adorable/perfect the crush was…so, in that line of thinking, in order for me to truly fall in love with God, study would be necessary.

SO…I got through Genesis, and then Exodus, and now I’m reading Leviticus. Y’all. I was baffled at the questions I began having as I read. And not to mention the connections and insights. Wow. Let me share one with you that just renewed my confidence in living each day in spite of circumstances.

Sandwiched in the narrative of Genesis 21 is the story of Hagar and Ishmael. They are being sent away (with a little food and some water) into the desert.  When provisions run out, Hagar sets Ishmael (her son) under a bush. Oddly enough, scripture goes on to say “she sat nearby, about a bowshot away…” (v. 16).  That appeared out of nowhere.  Who says that when referring to distance?

However, not unlike the narrative of the Bible, that phrase is built on just 4 verses later. Verse 20 says, “God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer.” Even in the confusion and chaos, God had a plan for Ishmael. When provision appeared to run out, and hope was certainly waning, God was unwavering. He saw from start to finish. Bowshot as a distance fit perfectly in line with who Ishmael would become.

I am simply humbled by this. When my life seems insignificant, when I feel like I missed out on the passing out of life plans, I have the hope of this passage. He knows what I will become…what you will become. It’s part of His sovereign plan.

So when the role I am working in, serving in, or struggling in makes me crazy, or want to quit–I have a new confidence that it has something to do with who I am becoming…where He is leading me. I just wonder how believing that will renew my hope, restore my confidence, and ignite my passion?

I’m ready!

5 thoughts on “A Beautifully-Rewarding Challenge

  1. I love when my mind finds a place of trusting and being at peace, instead of trying to see everything before I can have faith. It’s a process, isn’t it? So grateful God is always consistent, always faithful. Love your blog…hope it’s okay I added it to my blogroll? Can’t wait to read more! 🙂
    Cooking Up Faith


  2. I loved this post, Alyssa!!! Proud of you for taking on the 90-day challenge!!! Stay strong and keep sharing your insight… I love you, Sister!!!


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