When the Word Feels Dry and Distant

By Melissa McDonaldwater and the word

I just put the girls down for a nap (miraculously at the same time) and read the perfect blog post. It felt like sitting next to a good friend who faithfully pointed me to God and showed how his word applied to my most acute needs. Her analogies were perfect. She gave me courage and made me laugh.

Then I flipped open my Bible. A few months ago I began a read through the Bible plan and today I’m in … oh. Numbers. Still. I muster up a bit of determination and begin.

“The LORD spoke to Moses in the Desert of Sinai in the first month of the second year after they came out of Egypt…”

I finish and put an “X” next to today’s passage. That wasn’t exactly encouraging. I can’t see a clear path between the text and my life. I leave without any specific application.

A little voice whispers in my head that I failed. That it was all duty. That it is legalistic to plod through the Bible checking off each day’s reading.

I close my Bible doubtful that it changed me.

A month later I was somewhere in Deuteronomy. I finally told my husband that I know God better from reading through these books.


As Sally Lloyd-Jones puts it, “The Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.”

So read through Numbers. Read through Amos and Obadiah. As you read, cry out, “I must see Jesus!”

John Piper explains, “A godly life is lived out of an astonished heart, a heart that’s just astonished at grace … So we go to the Bible to be amazed at God and amazed at Christ and amazed at the cross and amazed at grace and amazed at the gospel. And when we’re stunned and amazed and humbled [it] makes us a better person at the kitchen table and when we go to work.”

Don’t fret when you’re unsure how the layout of the tabernacle can make you a better wife. His word never returns void. He promised. When we have seen him, we will be changed.

(Link to Ask Pastor John: Must Bible Reading Always End with Application?)

melissa mcdonaldMelissa McDonald (@melissabmcd) and her husband Eric serve and disciple international students at The University of Iowa with their two daughters, Miriam and Annette. Melissa blogs at The Cross and the Kitchen Sink and has written the Bible study guide: To Live Valiantly: A study on the Proverbs 31 Woman.

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One Comment to “When the Word Feels Dry and Distant”

  1. […] to read the Old Testament. Each segment is about eight minutes long. His instruction is so helpful when I’m unsure what I’m supposed to get out of certain passages. Watch one and you’ll be […]