Everyone has heard of the Bible, many have read it, and some are familiar with most of the major characters and events. But I'm convinced that most people - even many Christians - don't know how we're supposed to read the Bible, what we're supposed to get out of it.
Let me give you an example. Everybody knows about David and Goliath. Goliath, a human tank fighting in the Philistine army, was offering to go one-on-one with any soldier in the army of Israel. No one accepted the challenge - not wanting to end up as the squishy stuff between the giant's toes! Along comes David. Though too young to be a soldier, he offers to fight Goliath. With nothing more than his slingshot and trust in God, he topples the towering monster, bringing victory to the army of Israel.
Okay, it's a great story. But what does it do for us? Well, some would say that the "moral of the story" is that, if we trust God like David did, we can do amazing things, even slaying the "Goliaths" in our lives. True enough, I suppose, but not good enough. For the day will come when a "Goliath" too big for us will come our way - cancer, death of a loved one, etc. Besides, if we're honest, aren't we much more like the knees-knocking, shaking-in-their-sandals soldiers of Israel? It's fine to tell us that we should be like David, but the reality is that we usually fall far short of his trust and courage.
But here's how you're supposed to read the story. Instead of looking at David as an example of what we're supposed to do, see him as a preview of what Jesus would do for us. Jesus also, by Himself, defeated a Goliath. On the cross, He won forgiveness, life and the promise of heaven for us. He rose again in triumph, announcing that the "Goliath" of sin, death, and hell was defeated once and for all. We, who could only stand on the sidelines and watch, can now shout for joy in the victory He won for us.
See the difference? So, you basically have two choices. You can face life on your own, do the best you can, fight your own battles, and wonder if you've done enough to stand before God without fear. Or, you can trust the One who came to fight for you, to win the battle you couldn't possibly win, the One who loved you enough to die for your sins, the One who invites you to trust in Him for this life and for the life to come. May you find your peace and hope in the victory He won for you.