Guest Post by: David Lerner
Questions and Statements
Let me get this out there right off the bat: I don’t read the Bible nearly as much as the majority of Bible-believing Christians probably think I “should.”
Is that a vast generalization? Am I putting words in the mouths of a whole lot of people that I don’t know? Yes. Absolutely.
But I’ll stand firm on that statement anyway, because I don’t have an easy time reading the Bible. Sometimes, understanding the Bible is the most difficult thing in the world for me to do. Sometimes there’s a long wrestling match involved in making peace with what it says, so I don’t do it very often.
You see, I “put my trust” in Jesus when I was a little boy with very childlike faith. It wasn’t until later that I experienced the trauma that we all of us experience in life, to one degree or another, when we learn what it means to have our trust betrayed by someone else.
Learning what it actually means to believe that Jesus is trustworthy, and to then really trust in him, is something that I’ve spent the past few decades fighting to master.
So when I do read the Bible, I find myself looking at verses like Matthew 6:26, having read it over and over again: “Look at the birds of the air…” And I get it. I’ve seen that verse play out time and time again in my life, where my Father has come through and provided me with whatever it was I needed at the time: Money to cover the rent, or to get some food, shelter when I didn’t have the money to rent much of anything, a good job so I could have the money to rent a place again. I have never gone without my needs being met. I get that. He provides.
And yet, I have such an awful time coming to terms with the question Jesus asks at the end of that verse: “Are you not much more valuable than [the birds]?”
Why is he asking me that? Why would he leave that question hanging in the air?
You see, I’ve learned enough from my pastors over the years to know what the answer to that question is supposed to be.
I know that the answer is implied by the question: Yes.
When you put that question in the hands of someone who’s wrestling to overcome the voices that were recorded by childhood trauma and have been playing back on a never-ending loop, the answer doesn’t ring out with the clarion call of a trumpet.
My answer feels a lot more subdued and unsure of itself. My answer can change from moment to moment, depending on how the wrestling match is going at the time.
On better days, I can say, “Yeah, maybe I am.” On some days, it’s a struggle just to get out the words, “I believe you think I am. Help my unbelief.”
It would have been so much easier if Jesus had just made it a statement instead of a question. “You are worth so much more than those birds.” And maybe he did. Maybe it was clearer when he said it, but the clarity got a little lost in translation.
So when I do read, I tend to get stuck on questions like, “Are you not much more valuable than birds?” And when I do, I can’t move past them until I wrestle them to the ground and make peace with the implied answer.
And sometimes, my wrestling with a verse like that can take years. But when, in the end, I can stand up and shout out, “YES, I AM,” it will have been worth the struggle. I pray that day comes soon for all of us…
David Lerner is
a professional finance guy,
semi-professional drummer, and
amateur writer who can be found on
until he finally musters up the courage to start his own blog. He lives in Columbia, MD with his wife Nikki, who is a phenomenal singer (visit http://nikkilerner.com for proof of that).