For the first time since I was saved (January 2005) I managed to make it through the first five chapters of the Bible. With the help of the One Year Audio Bible from MasterMedia I was able to tough it out as Moses and the Israelites got painstaking instructions from God about building the ark of the covenant; I plowed through the multiple tribes, the lineage, and the families. I’m happy that I am now in Deutoromony and was consistent as in listening and applying the word of God to my life.
The One Year Audio Bible is well worth the investment of $9.99 from iTunes. The narrator, Tom Dooley, has a voice that’s not harsh or brash, he speaks clearly, and he doesn’t fumble. It’s a professionally made mp3. There are also two versions in the app. There is one with just the day’s verse, and another with a commentary before each section of the day’s reading.
Reading through the the journey in the desert, I grew frustrated with the Israelites as they continued to second guess God’s instruction and took what should have been an eleven day trip through the desert to a 40 year journey.
Diving into Deuteronomy, this particular part of Tom Dooley’s commentary struck a chord with me:
It wasn’t the distance that separated the Israelites (from God) but the conditions of their hearts.
I see my frustrations with the Israelites are not just because of their stubborness, but because it highlights a feeling I have about myself. See, in the past, I would question my faith at the slightest bump in the road. I can be so blinded by the current challenge, I am unable to stand on the continued promises of the Lord. I get caught up in the circumstances and not see that this was just another trial in a different package. Like the Israelites wishing they were back in Egypt despite the cruel conditions, I would find myself waxing poetic about other times that in a clearer head, I KNOW were toxic to me.
Taking time to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, I am able to hold on to my peace and the closeness to God that seemed to elude me for so long. I catch myself more quickly when I get caught up with worry and fear and channel that energy into a way to find the lesson God is teaching me (sometimes it’s something as simple as put my mobile device down at the red light) and see how I can continue to praise God despite what used to make me crumble.
My challenge to you: how can you change the conditions of your heart for more gratitude, rather than let distance keep you separated?