One of my favorite rooms in our home is an unfinished room in our basement that contains the furnace and hot water heater. Ductwork is visible through the unfinished walls and ceiling. A single lightbulb is affixed to a ceiling joist. It’s also our “office” of sorts. A real cozy place with random pieces of carpet on the cement floor and our grandkids’ artwork taped up here and there. My husband’s desk and our printer are down there as well as file cabinets full of all manner of stuff that probably has very little significance. And there are several shelves of books, MANY MANY BOOKS, that we’ve collected over the years.
Generally I just go into that room to print things off. Our printer is so slowwwww that I have quite a bit of time to sit in the chair that’s down there and just gaze around at the book titles and artwork and multi-patterned floor coverings.
Nice way to pass the time and help me forget that I’d like a newer, faster printer.
Every now and then I’ll run across something that I consider a treasure.
A few days ago I hit the jackpot:
Holy Bible, King James Version. With my mother’s handwriting on the “presented to” page. She even used my formal name, not “Bunny”. You may notice that the book is pretty fragile, being held together by tape.
I’m sure I accepted her gift with a polite but not overly enthusiastic “thank you”.However, 17 year-old me came to really love the gift.
If you’ve read very many of my blog posts you are aware that I lost my dad to leukemia a few days before Christmas in 1972, when I was 17. I made the statement last year in my Christmas post that “The typical stuff of Christmases past went out the door that year. And in came Jesus.”
But I didn’t really elaborate on the “in came Jesus” part.
I spent a lot of time alone during the weeks that led up to Dad’s death. In the evenings before bedtime I would be swept away in sadness. I would pray through my flood of tears, asking God to give me strength because I just didn’t know how I could live without my father.
And during one of those prayer times I opened my Bible and read
words that leaped off the page and into my heart. I underlined these words. I even memorized them in King James text.
And Isaiah 40: 28-31, which in modern translation says these words:
Do you not know, have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He never grows faint or weary, and there is no limit to His understanding.
He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who wait on the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.
It was the very first time I experienced the Bible as the living word of God. “In came Jesus”, through the presence of God who spoke to me through His words that soothed my soul and brought me hope and strength.
I experienced the Immanuel, God With Us of Christmas as these words told me that God would “hold thy right hand, saying…Fear not I will help thee”. “There is no limit to his understanding” told me that He understood my tears, he understood my pain. “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength” encouraged me to just wait on Him, trust Him, and He would be faithful to give me what I needed to face the uncertain days ahead.
Opening this old Bible, seeing the words of truth that I underlined all those years ago….. I can’t find the words to describe just what that meant to me. Forty-five years ago as a heart-broken little girl God gave me a promise that He would be my strength, He would hold my hand, he would always, always understand me. And He has kept his promise.
Do you not know, have you not heard? I pray you will know and hear. I pray you will open the living Word of the One who created you and loves you more than you can imagine. If you’re wondering where to start, you can’t go wrong with the book of John in the New Testament. Or…..the Christmas story….. Luke 2:1-21.
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. The best gift ever. The Living Word.