Today is the official end of The Bible in 90 Days Challenge at Mom’s Toolbox, or at least the official end of this round of it. I haven’t mentioned much about the challenge lately, mainly because I was too busy reading to write about it. :-) Here’s the confession part of this post: I did not finish the Bible in 90 days, even with the added two ”grace” days. However, I am not defeated! I have made it up to the book of Acts in the New Testament, and I plan to keep reading until I finish. My goal is to read five chapters a day. At that rate, I should finish in about a month. I realize this goal of five chapters a day is rather paltry compared to the 12-15 chapters a day that reading the Bible in 90 days requires, but I have been extremely stressed out lately, and adding a large reading assignment to my list of things to do daily only magnifies my stress level. Thus, I am reducing the requirement for myself to something a little more manageable, but I am always free to read more.
Looking back, I think I can see that it was a combination of a couple of things that caused me to fall behind to the point that I felt like I couldn’t catch back up. I managed to keep up, more or less, until I got to the major prophets in the Old Testament. I lagged behind in Isaiah, but I did finish it without too much trouble. It was when I got to Jeremiah and Ezekiel that I pretty much gave up hope of catching up; I found reading through those books to be challenging, to say the least. I refused to quit, though, and it was a sweet, sweet day night when I finished reading the Old Testament. This was a first for me, in my 20+ years of reading the Bible!!! Praise the Lord!!! After finishing Malachi, I got my second wind and got up the next morning (it was a Saturday, so no school, and Steady Eddie was home to deal with the young ‘uns) and read all of Matthew. However, it was shortly after this that my stress level went through the roof (for some undetermined reason), and I decided that I wouldn’t finish this race on time, but if I would keep plodding along like the turtle, I would eventually finish. At this point in my life, that is the important part.
So, even though I didn’t finish it on time, am I glad I participated in this challenge? Absolutely, positively yes!!! Here are some of the blessings that come quickly to mind when I think about this challenge:
- I’m certain that if I had not had this rigorous schedule and motivation to read through the Old Testament, I would’ve languished once again in Kings or Chronicles like I have so many times before and never have made it to Isaiah or Jeremiah.
- When I bogged down in those long prophetic books, I’m pretty sure I would’ve just stayed mired there if I hadn’t committed to the challenge (and known that the New Testament was closer than ever before!).
- Because of the challenge, I read the books quickly enough that I actually remembered what happened from the beginning of a book to its end so that I could sometimes make connections.
- I noticed things I’ve never noticed before (of course)!
- The New Testament is coming to life for me more than ever because the Old Testament is so fresh in my mind.
One of the biggest blessings and motivators of all for me has been that Steady Eddie has been reading along, too. He has actually read the Bible through before, but he agreed to join me in the challenge. Although we have not had a chance to literally read it together, it has helped to have someone with whom to compare notes, etc. Like me, he bogged down in the major prophets and has now managed to read up to the book of John. I have confidence, though, that we will both finish this with the help of the Lord.
Working through this challenge has given me more of a hunger for God’s Word, something that I have long lacked and desired. Recently I have given up caffeinated drinks, and while the headaches I endured for a few days were annoying and painful, now that I have persevered through them, I have more of a thirst for water than ever before. Water is actually what I crave. I think the Bible in 90 Days Challenge, because of its fast pace and total immersion method, works in a similar way–the more of God’s Word I read, the more I hunger for it. It is painful at times to give up what we want to do (and obviously, I don’t always win over my flesh in this regard), but we will be rewarded if we persevere through the difficult times.
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of your Word! Thank you, Lord, that you are awakening within me a desire for more of you!