This week I was able to return to a place that is holy for me. A place where God met me in a powerful way. It’s a dock by a lake where our friends live in Wisconsin.
The dock is a perfect place to spend some time reading in the early morning. One of the things I love to do as I read my Bible is to date different promises or commands that have been meaningful to me, connecting with specific circumstances in my life. It’s such an encouragement when I see how personal and alive God’s word is to me – even if it’s convicting.
Many verses are dated with the name of one of our daughters as I have prayed the verses for them. Next to Psalm 16:8 is 10/9/09 and “Katy -job”.
Other verses (like Is. 42:13 and Is. 43:18,19) have dates with notes about prayers for guidance.
Psalm 9:9 says, “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Next to it is written “Haiti”.
One of the most meaningful and important notations in my Bible is next to Matthew 7: 9-11. I wrote, “Bere’s dock, August 15, 2004.”
I had been going through a very difficult time, praying for direction and every time I thought a door was being open for me and I started to walk through, it was slammed in my face. August 15th of that year we were staying with our dear friends and I was sitting out on their dock early one morning, pouring my heart out to God.
I said, “It feels like you’re playing a game of cat-and-mouse with me and I don’t understand!!! Help!”
After I prayed, I was still and in the stillness God brought to mind a verse that I vaguely remembered – something like “If a son asks his father for bread, with he give him a stone? No! And how much more does your heavenly father want to give you?” I checked for the reference in my concordance and looked up the verses in Matthew 7, thankful for the personal reassurance from God, but He wasn’t done with me yet.
At the time I was also making a practice of reading in the Message paraphrase so I looked up Matthew 7:9-11 there. And this is what it says,
“Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust?… So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?”
The exact phrase I had used in my rant to God, He used in His word to me.
Hebrews 4:12 says God’s Word is living and active. But holy buckets!
Now although I see how God speaks personally to me through his Word daily, this dramatic experience isn’t a common occurrence. Rather it was a gracious gift from God who saw his daughter desperate for encouragement.
Like post-it note reminders, the dates and names in my Bible are much needed records of His faithfulness over years of my stumbling along, falling down, and getting back up, forgiven and accompanied every step of the way by a patient, personal God.
What are some small, or dramatic ways God has reassured you of His presence?