Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Jennifer Rothschild’s new study, Amos. Order your copy or view a free sample at lifeway.com/amos.
My charming little niece pretzeled her long skinny legs into a brown plastic chair in her grandpa’s hospital room. I sat near her on the edge of his bed. We were keeping vigil over this man we both loved. She was trying to read her assigned seventh grade English book, and her Aunt Jennifer was constantly interrupting her.
“What’s your favorite subject?”
“Do you like to read?”
“What’s the book about?”
She finally rested her book on the lap of her tattered jeans and gave in to my questions.
“It’s about a horse.”
Evidently, her Aunt Jennifer has a thing about stress chatter. Do you know what that is? It’s that thing in me that will engage my mouth as much as possible so my heart doesn’t have to feel and my brain will stop doing the “what if” calculations. We were in the hard middle of losing our hero dad/grandpa, and the process was terribly painful and full of stress. So evidently, I was overcompensating by chattering on and on in his hospital room that day.
“I don’t like to read books about animals because they usually get hurt or lost or die, and I just can’t handle it,” I said.
Juliet loves animals, and I figured she may feel the same way about reading the horse book, so I continued.
“I don’t like reading books full of bad news or sad outcomes. How about you?”
From that brilliant little brain of hers, hidden beneath sunshiny blond hair, she said, “Well, Aunt Jennifer, I’m not afraid to read it because the horse is the narrator.”
Now, any woman who has been through menopause knows that more pauses come with it! There is a reason some call it “mental pause.” It can sure stop stress chatter, though!
I just sat there on the end of the bed pondering her conclusion.
Evidently, my pause made her think she needed to clarify what she meant. She figured out that Aunt Jennifer was a little slow to connect the dots!
“If the horse is the narrator,” she explained, “then the book will end OK.”
Juliet’s point was well taken. The horse didn’t die if he was the one telling the story. (It’s OK if you’re saying “duh” about now! Maybe that should have been more obvious to me!)
But the bigger point was that Juliet didn’t need to hesitate. She didn’t need to quit reading to protect her heart. She didn’t need to fear discouragement as she went through each chapter because no matter how bad it got, no matter how bleak or sad or awful the chapter, she knew the story would end well.
Years later I sit at my desk listening to my computer read the book of Amos to me. (By the way, if we’re new friends, this is a good time to let you know I’m blind. That’s why my computer reads to me.)
With every chapter, it’s just bad news after bad news. Every chapter makes me feel discouraged or want to quit reading. At the very least, I wonder, And why am I thinking a woman would want to do a Bible study on Amos with all its bad news?
Then I remember Juliet’s sage words in the hospital that day: “I’m not afraid to read it because the horse is the narrator. If the horse is the narrator, then the book will end OK.”
So I keep reading Amos and thinking, If hope is the narrator, then the book will end OK.
And that is why you want to read Amos, too. Hope is the narrator of Amos.
Even though there are harsh words, bleak outcomes, scary condemnations, and all-around bad news, hope is still hidden in every word. Hope carries the narrative, and hope wins in the end.
So as we read Amos together, we’re going to turn each condemnation into an invitation. Amos is full of invitations to seek God and live. It’s full of invitations to feel assured by God, live humbly and justly for Him, and receive hope of renewal and restoration. So don’t let the bad news or sad outcomes keep you from reading. “If hope is the narrator, then the book will end OK.”
And it will, sister! I promise. Besides that, along the way your heart may just explode with the possibilities, joy, and assurance old Amos will bring. Open your heart big to receive these seven invitations from the heart of God through the pen of Amos. They are for you. And once accepted, they will flow through you. You’ll learn that what you long for—the good life—is wrapped up in living the God life and, girl, what a life it is!
Want to learn more about the Amos Bible study? Watch the short video below or view a free sample and teaching video clips at lifeway.com/amos.
We’re excited to announce that the Amos Bible Study Book includes continual access to all 8 of Jennifer’s teaching sessions. You’ll simply redeem the unique access code printed in the back of your Bible study book to access the videos.
Ready to dive into this study today? Click here to get the first Bible study book session and the first video teaching session for free. And, we’re sharing a bonus interview with Jennifer Rothchild and Kelly Minter below:
And here are some fun wallpapers for your desktop and phone! Click the images below to download!