Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The Bible as Literature - My Part in the Story by Ros Bayes

Once upon a time, about 2,500 years ago, the king got married.  Like any royal wedding, this one was celebrated with music and song.  The king’s musicians, the sons of Korah, wrote and performed a musical poem called a maskil. 

 It contained verses in praise of the King:

           You are the most excellent of men
            and your lips have been anointed with grace,
            since God has blessed you forever.

 As well as verses celebrating the beauty of his bride:

All glorious is the princess within;
her gown is interwoven with gold.
In embroidered garments she is led to the king.

 It’s clear from the rest of this lyric that the king was marrying a girl of humble origins who was going to have to adjust to a far grander lifestyle in future.

 Fast-forward to 1984.  A young woman who had grown up in a strict, conservative evangelical home was grappling with her relationship with God.  All her life she had lived in the shadow of His disapproval, certain of one thing:  that she deserved nothing but damnation for the wickedness of her nature, but somehow in His great love God had redeemed her.  Love seemed a strange word for this judgemental overseer who kept her constantly in her place by reminding her of how wicked she was and how much she owed to His great condescension.  But she had been taught to call this the love of God, so love it must be.

 Five months earlier this young woman had given birth to a desperately sick baby – a baby who took two and a half hours to feed, six times a day; fifteen hours of every day when it was hard to devote any time to her toddler, and when no chores could be done or rest taken.  In addition, the baby stopped breathing six or eight times in every twenty-four hour period and she had to apply the emergency techniques the hospital had taught her, to restart the breathing.  Now at five months old the baby weighed four pounds fourteen ounces and the health visitor had just issued a stern warning to the mother that if she didn’t make more effort to feed her baby she would lose her.

 In desperation the young woman cried out to the only person who seemed able to help her – the God whose help she was certain she did not deserve.  He answered in a most unexpected way, by giving her an insatiable thirst for His word.  Suddenly she couldn’t put her Bible down, drinking it eagerly like a spring in the desert.

 And so it was that she came across this wedding maskil, written 2,500 years earlier.  And as she read it, two verses leapt off the page at her:

           “Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:
             Forget your people and your father’s house;
            The king is enthralled by your beauty.
            Honour Him, for He is your Lord.”

 In that moment of revelation she realised that she had God all wrong.  Here He was, telling her to forget the aloof, censorious deity she had come to believe in and to understand that when He looked at her, He was enthralled by what He saw and longed for her to feel the same.  That moment changed the whole course of her life.  The baby didn’t miraculously recover, but she now had an inner joy and strength that carried her through all the difficulties of the years ahead.

 I was that young woman.  And so the Bible became, not merely an historic document, but an ongoing story in which I had a part to play.  God, the great author of heaven and earth, had written me into his magnum opus, and without my role the story would be incomplete.  What an amazing privilege.  What role are you playing in His great story?

 Ros Bayes has 6 published and 3 self-published books, as well as some 3 dozen magazine articles to her credit.  She is the mother of 3 daughters, one of whom has multiple complex disabilities, and she currently works for Through the Roof ( as their Training Resources Developer, and loves getting paid to write about disability all day.  You can find her blog at and her author page at  Follow her on Twitter: @rosbwriting.  


  1. This is really moving and Inspiring. Thank you Ros for sharing this and your honesty. It really spoke to me today

  2. That's quite a story. A story within a Story, as you say.

  3. Beautiful. Isn't it amazing how God uses Scripture to speak to us sometimes.

  4. God bless you for sharing. Beautiful

  5. Wonderful words of reassurance, love, and acceptance (without the judgemental attitude of 'I accept you, beastly sinner!' from God.

  6. Beautiful writing, Ros. I loved this post. Appreciate your searing honesty, as well.

  7. Thank you for all your comments. I love how God uses us all, with all our experiences, to bless one another.