About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46
At the pinnacle of Jesus’ suffering, the cry of a child to His Father was heard but it was also a direct quote from the Psalms. He chose the words David spoke in Psalm 22 when David expressed his own anguish. Jesus was tied to David just as we are joined with our spiritual ancestors. Their lessons of faith become ours. Their life experiences serve as part of our curriculum. Their heroic moments inspire us. Their stories of failure warn us and their stories of despair comfort us. Their voices resound with clarity for any of us committed enough to read their stories.
If Jesus quoted scripture during His darkest hour, I see that it’s live-saving for me to do the same. How humiliating to recall how everything but scripture came off my tongue in the hardest of times. My words revealed a distrust of God and despair. I found that whatever words erupted out of spirit when I was in a lot of pain told a lot about my faith at that moment. For Jesus, He was so immersed in scripture that He quoted it in His darkest hour. He did not feel like He was quoting David’s words; no, they had become His own.
I’ve learned the hard way that if the only time I turn to scripture is when times get hard, I’ve not prepared well for inevitable time in the valley. I’ve put myself in a position where there will be nothing but a dry reservoir from which to draw.
In my forties, I began immersing myself in the word of God. Tragically, I missed the thrill of it for the first half of my life. I was shortsighted for many reasons but I also failed to see the cumulative effect of such a discipline over the course of many years. One reason God spoke His words was so they would run through my heart like a river, bringing continual refreshment, wisdom, and connection. If I treasure them, I will hear the sound of running water.
Nothing is more critical today than making your Word my own. It is the pen of Your Spirit that writes it on my heart so that my default language is your language. Remind me of this, Father. Amen