My childhood image of God as a distant and stern father and judge doesn’t work for me anymore. For a long time, I had no real image—only the sense of a hand holding mine. Bible study, prayer, and life’s other teachers widened my image of God.
I see now that God is so much more than I had imagined—water when we thirst (Psalm 63) and rock when we need refuge (2 Samuel 22:1-2). The list goes on and on.
After my divorce, passages that had previously rolled off my tongue caused me to experience pain and difficulty. I couldn’t read Old Testament texts that included abusive treatment and attitudes toward women without crying. The most difficult for me was the story of the Levite’s concubine in Judges 19. It’s still painful to read, but it has caused me to raise my voice for justice for women.
This and other “texts of terror” as they’re called, forced me to read the Bible with a historical perspective. I ask myself: When was the material written? What do we know about the time/the context?
I remind myself that the people I meet in the Bible were human—flawed and clay-footed just like me.
This message was adapted from “A Friend Through Life’s Passages” written by Sonia C. Solomonson that first appeared in the September 2010 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine. If you are reading “Daily Grace” online, sign up to receive it by email daily.