In my regular life I read a decent amount. Not as much as some, more than those who don’t read at all. But I think that what I read is weird. Strange, even.
I read book club books, of course. (Because with an awesome book club like the one I was privileged to be a part of for the last few years, why wouldn’t I?) But after that, what I read is anyone’s guess. What usually happens is that I’ll see or hear a book mentioned somewhere, and I’ll go online to the library and put a hold on it. It usually takes long enough that long before the book arrives I’ve forgotten what on earth possessed me to read it in the first place—but I am beginning to believe that this reading ends up being anything but random.
I am amazed at how often that exact book, or part of that exact book, is exactly what I needed in my life in that moment. Take, for instance, the book I read (who knows why!) a few months before we moved, MWF Seeking BFF. I’m sure that in the instant that I placed it on hold I was just entertained by the stunt-fictionness of the idea of a woman recording her search for new friends. But I wasn’t very far into the book before I realized that this was actually a book for me in that moment—because I, a MWF, was soon (as sad as it makes me) going to need to find some new BFFs, and I could sure use some ideas.
Another time I had a burning, and I mean burning urge to read Stephen Robinson’s book “Following Christ.” This book haunted me night and day, literally. I finally went to the bookshelves, found it, and started devouring it. I’d read about 60 pages when it was time to go visiting teaching one night. During the conversation that night with my dear friend she asked a question with some serious spiritual despair behind it. And thanks to Robinson and “Following Christ,” I was able to open my mouth and regurgitate out his beautiful Parable of the Diver which brought comfort to her and humility (on any number of levels) to me. Weeks (WEEKS) later I happened upon the book laying somewhere in the house and remembered that I had been in the process of reading it. I had no desire left to pick it up and read it—that was totally gone. It took me a long time to put those pieces together, but when I did I could arrive at no other conclusion than that I had been guided to that book for that moment.
The most interested “guided” reading I do is always in the scriptures. Without fail, every time I read there is something in what I read that speaks to me specifically. Pointedly, even. I’m so curious about this. Is God able to bring out what I need to hear regardless of what I’m actually reading in His word? Does God know just how wacky my reading schedule is going to be and so nudges me this way and that so that I’ll arrive at the right places at the right times? I do not have the faintest idea. But I’ll tell you, however He is doing it, He is good.
Here was a recent moment—keeping in mind that I have been struggling for months now with my anger towards God about this move and all it means for our family, and have been so fearful about our house not having sold. I should also tell you that about a week or so I had the distinct feeling (even started a blog post on it that never got finished) that I should be reading my own blog more often, particularly the posts early on in Russ’s unemployment where I recorded the spiritual impressions that I had and the faith that they gave me.
From the 7th chapter of Nephi—this was literally the 4th verse I read this morning:
Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten what
great things the Lord hath done for us…
The verses just before that were also powerful to me, but this was that one that just pierced my heart and was the reminder that I needed.
I think I’m going to try to stop being surprised when God provides the answers I need in my reading, and just start being grateful for His direction.