The Bible doesn’t tell us everything. Not even close. That’s because there are huge gaps between most events. Oh, to be sure, the Bible tells us all we need to know. But it leaves out most of the details that scratch our curious itches.
(Photo: The Zin Valley in the Aravah of Israel. Picture by Noam Armonn)
- What did Jesus look like?
- Was Nehemiah bowlegged?
- Did Martha have a sidesplitting laugh?
- Was David more handsome than Brad Pitt?
We’ll never know. And this offers a huge encouragement in our life of faith.
Why There are Gaps in the Bible
When we read the Scriptures, we see selected events. Even in the cases of individuals whose births and deaths are recorded—like Samuel or Samson or even Jesus—we read only of certain incidents. The Bible never shows the entire life of anybody. Even a great life of faith.
Think about when someone asks you your own life story. What do you tell?
- No one has the time—and honestly, no one cares—to hear all the details of your Jr. High School experience. When asked, you give just the highlights. Most likely, that’s all you remember anyway.
- Occasionally, though, we encounter individuals who do remember the details. All of them. They drivel on about the color of the tablecloth, and the fact that Uncle Bob is related to Holly’s cousin by marriage, and that Junior lost his tooth over by that stump, etc., etc., and so on. During these insufferable eternities of listening, we find ourselves alternating between squirming in our seats, checking our watches, or praying for the Rapture.
Because time and especially patience are limited, most people really appreciate the bottom line. Frankly, I’m grateful the Bible gives it.
But that can pose a problem for us.
The Problem with Gaps in the Bible
Because the biblical narratives usually reflect only the turning points in a life of faith, we tend to see biblical lives as nothing but non-stop action. One only has to read the book of Ruth or the life of Paul to see the Lord very involved in their lives. There’s exciting stuff on every page!
Our lives, by comparison, seem, well—dull. While the Bible reveals its characters in terms of their high points, we, on the other hand, tend to evaluate our lives by the lousy week we just slogged through. We’ll go for years without a significant event!
So, here’s our problem. We’ll think, God, why aren’t you working in my life like you did in biblical days?
As result of this struggle, we may assume:
Time for some perspective. We need to remember that between significant biblical events lay large gaps of time—weeks, months, years, and sometimes, even centuries.
But the gaps needn’t discourage us. In fact, they should do the opposite.
The Benefit of Gaps in Your Life
Most of life is lived in the gaps between great moments. In light of this, we have two options:
- Unhealthy option: We read the Bible intellectually, but we evaluate our lives emotionally. Sometimes that disconnect seems huge, and we nurse discouragement.
- Healthy option: We recognize that gaps are normal in the lives God’s people. Even Jesus’ life had gaps—huge ones. Why would ours be different?
If we hope to maintain a life of faith, we must accept our gaps as part of God’s will.
Gaps are normal. In fact, most of life is gaps.
And that’s okay.
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This post is adapted from Wayne’s book, Waiting on God: What to Do When God Does Nothing.
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