One of the books I read this summer discussed the training of the US Marines and other military branches on “the Big Why.” Soldiers are trained to clearly understand, before anything else begins, their big why. Why am I doing this?
At a high level, this may be to make a better life for me and my family. It may be to honor those who came before me, particular past family members who have served. It may be a love and commitment to country. When things get tough, when you get tired, hungry, hurt, drained, feeling that you can’t go on and do more in the heat in the mud; the soldiers are taught to ask each other, why are we doing doing this. The answer draws back to the big why.
At a mission level, understanding the big why of an operation or goal is critical to not get mired in the little challenges and obstacles. When faced with obstacles, it allows for alternative approaches but maintains focus on the important objectives instead of the small impediments.
As we embark on a 30 week daily lesson plan, I think it is important for each of us to ask and answer our own “Big Why.” Why do you want to complete this study of John? Why do you want to show up every week? Why do you want to do your lesson every day?
God doesn’t “require” you to invest time with Him every day. God doesn’t “need” you to be in the word every day. You aren’t doing this for God. God also doesn’t love you more or less based on the time you spend with Him. His love for you is unconditional – meaning, it doesn’t depend on you meeting certain conditions.
But there are a lot of good “Big Why” answers. Maybe it is because the bible is the major way that our God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. Maybe because it is the true inspired Word of God. Maybe because your heart desires a closer walk. Maybe you want more faith and less fear, more joy and less worry, more life and less just living. Maybe you want to read and hear an eye witness account from someone who walked with Jesus every day. Maybe you want to better understand, at every level, why this is called the Love Gospel. Maybe it is because of the sacrifice that Jesus made. Or maybe it is just because when you love someone you want to be with that person every day and you truly love Jesus.
There are lots and lots of possible big whys. What is yours?
Because, the road will be difficult. Every scheduling conflict will occur during BSF time. Daily plans for doing your lesson will be met with distraction and chaos. Your time will be hijacked, family will get sick, sporting events and commitments will pile up and things will conspire to keep you from having a daily walk in the word of God. Temptations will abound and you will be faced with obstacles.
The road was not easy for Jesus. As we will read this year, He faced every obstacle: physical, spatial, mental, spiritual. He faced deceit from His closest followers. He faced hatred from the religious leaders. He faced death. But His focus remained. His Big Why was to do the will of His Father. His Big Why was to save His sheep, so that not one would be lost. His focus (which included quiet times of prayer when the obstacles mounted the highest) always came back to His Big Why – the love and unity with His Father.
What is your Big Why for the study of the book of John? Write it down. Carry it with you. Put it on your bathroom mirror. Put it on the visor of your car. And pray!
Neither you nor I will be able to complete this journey on our own strength and will. But with the power of the Holy Spirit, all things are possible, no obstacle is too great and no evil barrier can block our path to being with our Lord and Savior this day and for every day to come.