It is no coincidence that I started on Feb. 1st to begin reading through the Bible in a year (again). Why, you might ask? Well first, I know that Scripture is alive and every time we read it (even the same verse for the umpteenth time) we get new nuances of truth by the enabling of the Holy Spirit.
Also, I found, like the deer panting for the water, I was needing spiritual refreshment. I had a thirst that couldn't be quenched by anything I was "doing"; even things I was doing for the Lord.
This might sound odd, but in a weird way, I found myself looking back on my days of sitting on the sofa, reading and meditating on God's Word because I couldn't walk for two months, with a sense of homesickness. I couldn't "do" much of anything, so I learned the beauty of just "being" in His presence....and it was good.
I was kind of slow out of the gates to start the "Bible in a Year" resolution in January. Where did that month go, by the way? Do you find you need a month just to recover from the previous year??
So, February 1, 2018. Genesis 1-3: In the beginning God created.....
February 2, 2018. A text came in the middle of the night that a good friend would not be meeting me for coffee that morning. Her son had collapsed, gone into seizures, and was rushed to the ER. She was with him now and they were running tests to find out what happened. I prayed, but sleep did not come easily. I know the heart of a mother. No matter the age of your children, you will always run to their side and you will be given over to worry. They weighed on my mind.
The sun finally came up and another text came from a friend's wife. John's brother had a massive heart attack and was in the hospital hooked up to all sorts of machines that were trying to sustain life.
Several texts throughout the morning....unconscious, can't breathe on his own, kidneys failing.
A little after noon. The final blow. John's brother had passed away. One day up and making people smile and laugh with his sense of humor. The next day....gone.
Deep sadness and melancholy fell over me. I prayed breath prayers throughout the day for my friend's son, for my friend, for John, for his brother's now widow and family, for all the family dealing with this sudden grief thrust upon them.
To keep my mind occupied, I went about doing some laundry and putting away some folded clothes. I was in my bedroom, when I heard two very loud "thuds". I immediately rushed to my window and looked out into our back yard. I couldn't see the road because our yard, that slopes downward toward the house, is surrounded by a tall wooden fence.
I didn't see anything because of the fence, but soon I heard the sirens and then the top of a firetruck and an ambulance came into view above the fence. I later came to find out that a car had lost control coming around the bend, and perhaps in an attempt not to hit another car, came up over the curb (thud one) and then hit a tree on the other side of our fence (thud two).
Had the car not hit the tree, it would have come careening through the fence, down our back yard and, most likely, would have hit our house.
God created.....but it became very clear to me that day, that....life can be taken away just that quickly.
The tears were just below the surface. I wanted them to come. I wanted the expelling and cathartic cleansing they would bring. But the melancholy hung on and the tears didn't come.
The mail truck stopped, mail was flung and the mailbox door flipped shut. In a sort of stupor, I wandered out to get the mail. Bills, ads, junk, catalogs, and a letter with no return address. The address was typed out RCF, Inc. (the non-profit ministry I head up). It was postmarked Billings, MT. I didn't know anyone there....at least not that I could think of.
I opened the envelope and there was a copy of a page from my blog with one part, highlighted in orange, about sponsoring a child (orphan) for one year so that they could get off the streets and into school. The anonymous money order for $180., neatly tucked inside, would give one precious child life, hope, Jesus, textbooks, a nourishing meal every day, a backpack and Bible to call their own, friends, family, and most of all love.
The tears streamed down my face burning hot trails on my cheeks.
The words to the song "Blessed Be The Name" came into my mind: "Blessed be the name of the Lord....He gives and takes away, but my heart will choose to say, 'Blessed be the name of the Lord.'"
In the beginning He gave....He created. Every day He gives abundantly. On Feb. 2nd, He took away and sorrow swept over me.
But blessed be the name of the Lord....He gave life again from someone I don't know in Billings, MT. My tears of sorrow turned to tears of thanks for His goodness. God accepts both as offerings unto Him.
So back to my Bible in a year plan. I realize how much I NEED Him. I NEED His word. Like the deer, I pant for His truth. I will never know what a day may hold, but I can hold onto His Word when deep calls to deep - when the waterfalls and waves keep crashing over me.
I realized this day that being in His Word is not optional if I am going to get through the trials of this world. It came very close to my door on Feb. 2nd. When it literally knocks on MY door, or my phone rings, I need all the inner ammunition I can get to cling to Him.