Friday, May 1, 2020

Seek Truth



Today I'll share the last of my five quarantine goals. (The others were keep a routine,  celebrate my children, take a walk, and find ways to serve.) This one is probably the most important and incorporates the first four.

Back in January and February, I took part in a reading challenge. With the goal of reading more books, I found that my online reading shrank significantly. Then in March, we spent a week in North Carolina with almost no internet service.

When we got back to Pennsylvania,  I realized that I had gotten out of the habit of online reading, especially on social media. The timing was perfect as opinions and debates were flying around social media concerning Covid-19.

But as the weeks went by, I found myself being sucked into the conversation. I wanted to stay aware, but checking the stats for my county would turn into an hour of reading news reports and opinions.

In past years, when I would bury myself in brain cancer research, I found that there were two emotions that I needed to take as warning signals: anxiety and anger. I gained so much good information from brain cancer forums and other online sources, but anxiety or anger are two emotions that I couldn't handle.

There are proper times for negative emotions. I'm sometimes hit with deep sorrow when reading the Scripture, when God reveals my sin. The news should drive me to prayer for the lost condition of the world - and not just since the pandemic. There is a time for tears and heaviness of heart.

But I when I feel anger or anxiety, I assume that those emotions are not from God, since He rebukes worry and rebellion.
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7
When reading, I try to ask myself questions such as: Do I know this is truth or is it someone's opinion? Is this an area of my responsibility?

For me this has meant that I read about current events but in a limited way. For example, I need to know the latest Covid-19 rulings for my area so that I can be respectful of our leaders' requests. I want to stay aware of the needs of the world, not inflict fear, but to spark empathy and prayer. I've put more weight in the opinions of those who are first-hand witnesses. When I wanted to learn more about pandemics, I have sought information from history to learn how pandemics have affected our country in the past instead of reading others' conjectures on Covid-19's impact.

But even more, I have sought to keep turning to God's Word. Opinions of experts change every week or two, but the Bible never changes.

At the beginning of March, a long-time friend Thann Bennett sent me his new book My Fame, His Fame. I don't often read books in the inspirational Christian genre since often if feels like they take a whole book to say what could be said in one chapter. But I think God knew I needed a Scripture-saturated book to read this spring.

My Fame, His Fame relates the story of Habakkuk and call us to live lives to bring God glory. Maybe none of the thoughts in the book were truly new, but I needed reminded that God's people have faced very difficult situations in the past and called out to God who answered, though not always in the ways they expected.
"When what we know of God does not feel sufficient for our current trials we have two choices: to walk away or to press in deeper until we find more of Him." - Thann Bennett
Another blessing to me this past month has been the short book Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper that is available as an e-book or audio for free in many languages.

The goal of seeking truth in what I'm reading, listening, and thinking on is a lifetime goal, but one that is even more important the past month. Satan will always send lies to bring bondage to our soul, but what we do with those lies is our choice. God's Word—not just read, but known, understood, and lived out—is the only way my mind can find freedom and victory.

I'd love to hear how you are seeking truth.

2 comments :

  1. We have been focusing on memorizing Scripture. We read a passage 3 times a day, about 10 verses, and the children younger than me can say it in 2-3 weeks. It takes me another week; I guess my age is showing! I love to read the Bible verses which contain God's promises in relating to national authority- as a Christian, prayer is the key for me. God is in control, and He will move the hearts of the kings according to His will. And He will do what will be best for those who love Him.

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  2. the warmfireplaceMay 2, 2020 at 11:36 AM

    Thank you so much for this post today, my husband is feeling so very overwhelmed by the news etc, we have just discussed exactly what you have written, I will give it to him to read, thank you again, you said it much better than I tried to put it across. Keeping you all in prayer. Sue

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