Yesterday, I cleaned my study (a little bit) and came across my old Bible. It was given to me in 1977 by my parents. I was 14 at the time. I remember carrying it on the church bus that took me to Sunday school. It came in handy because when zipped--it made a good shield against spitballs. When I was 16, it was on the pew when the pastor dunked me in the waters of baptism. At the little mission church that opened in the heathen wilderness that was my neighborhood--I read from it during worship. On days when mired in teenage angst, I searched it’s pages for comfort.
At 18 years old, I enlisted in the Army National Guard. My Bible was with me for basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was the first time I’d been away from home. My high school sweetheart had ended our relationship just before I left. In the pages of the Psalms, many broken hearted and homesick teenage tears were shed. In the quiet times of anxiety and grief, that old Bible was a dear friend that anchored me to something lasting and true.
In the pages of my Bible I met God. It showed me who he is and assured me of what he can do. I learned of his abiding presence with those who love him. In my worst moments, through his Word the LORD spoke to my heart and lifted me from the pit. In Christ, I experienced the profound promises and hope we have in God’s mercy. Scripture taught me there is always reason to hope because all things are possible with our Heavenly Father.
When training was done, I was still homesick and still missed the girl I desperately loved. But I was sure God was guiding my every step:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6)
Upon returning home, I had my old Bible in my hand at the airport. I squeezed it extra tight when I saw that girl who broke my heart--walking with my parents. We’ve been together ever since. Praise the LORD for keeping my path straight.