Expecting an Encounter

Recently I was reading a short biography of  Catherine Marshall; Her husband said these compelling words about her devotional life:  “Catherine didn’t read the Word for solace or inspiration but to have an encounter with the Lord.”

I am challenged by this thought because it means pursuing Jesus for Him alone and not for the gifts He gives–not for the comfort, not for the recharge I so often feel that I need–but for Him alone. And the crazy part is that an encounter with the Lord does provide both solace and inspiration, but that singled minded panting after the Lord is so easily laid aside in an effort to gain other more obvious benefits.

God’s Word, by its own declaration is powerful and abundantly useful. It divides the dross from the silver. It teaches. It instructs. It corrects. It warns. It offers wisdom. But when I approach God’s Word with the intent of gleaning these things, without an expectation of a personal encounter with the Author, I sell myself short. I come away with far less than God intends.  His purpose, which is holistic and relational, is that as I search the Scriptures with a deep expectation of a personal encounter, I do indeed experience the benefits of His Word in making me holy.  My heart and soul cry out for this, even as the Psalmist proclaimed. But often I don’t recognize the cry and I assume that the comfort, healing, and inspiration of His Word is sufficient to satiate me.

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