Are you there, God?

By Rebecca Hoeffner

Do you ever read the Bible and feel — well, nothing?

Is that sacrilegious to say?

It's a common issue, especially for people who have been Christians most of their lives. Even John Piper, a renowned pastor and Christian author, admits he struggles with this.

Piper's solution? He prays what he calls his "I.O.U.'s."

The "I" stands for "Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain," Psalm 119:36 (ESV).

Isn't it encouraging, Piper said, that even the Psalmist had to ask the Lord for help in being excited about Scripture?

The "O" stands for "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law," Psalm 119:18 (ESV). Even the Psalmist could look at Scripture and still not see anything sometimes.

The "U" stands for "Unite my heart to fear your name," Psalm 86:11 (ESV).

As someone who is often distracted by a million things at once, I relate to the cry to have my heart united.

The "S" stands for "Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love," Psalm 90:14 (ESV).

Sometimes it feels like our feelings of boredom and disengagement will last forever. I know I'm often tempted to believe that. But take heart! Christian teachers and Scripture itself indicate that the Christian life is full of mountains and valleys. So let us encourage one another.

"God means for you to fight the fight of faith with fellow combatants at your side," Piper said in his book "When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy."

"The fight for joy means being part of the Christian militia: ‘Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart … But exhort one another every day … that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin' (Heb. 3:12–13).

And it encourages me to know that I'm in the same boat with other Christians.

"To be satisfied by the beauty of God does not come naturally to sinful people," Piper said. "By nature we get more pleasure from God's gifts than from himself."

But God can win our hearts back again. After all, who else could do it better?


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