I resurrected my old Bible today. As you can see, it bears my maiden name. I earned this Bible when I was ten years old. I wasn’t a Christian then, but I was drawn to Jesus and was curious about spiritual things.
I became a Christian in my teens and used my white Bible throughout my young adulthood.
Then I went off to college, blew Jesus off for a couple of years, repented, and sought Him again. At graduate school, Bruce taught me from His Bible. After we were married he presented me with my own giant Bible, the kind with study notes and a huge concordance. I love that Bible.
My little white Bible had been left back in my parents’ home. About ten years ago I retrieved my old friend and placed it in the guest room inside a bureau drawer. I didn’t need it, but I thought, one day one of my children might want it as kind of a memento of their mom.
Now for the resurrection: I thought that my little white Bible would be a great piece for my “family heritage” collection. I plan to present this group of photos and other mementos as part of my focus on prayers for family at our annual women’s retreat.
I opened the Bible and thumb through its pages. Here and there my teenaged hand had underlined passages or written notes in the margins. But near the end of the Bible, where all the helps and illustrations are, I caught sight of this:A hundred questions sprang up. Who had written this hostile declaration? When? Why? And in my Bible, my property!
I examined the handwriting. Juvenile, even child-like. The author hadn’t succeeded the first time. Spelled “god” as “good.” Then written the angry phrase two more times.
I didn’t recognize the handwriting. It looked like a boy’s hand. But not one of my sons’. The white Bible had stayed in my parent’s house for over twenty years. Many grandchildren had slept or played in the grandparents’ guest room where it had been placed.
My first inclination was to tear out the offending page and throw it in the trash. But then I thought, isn’t this illustrative of any man or woman’s declaration before they recognize Who Jesus is and how great and loving He is?
I pinned the “I hate god” page on my bulletin board. Yes, the same bulletin board I talked about earlier, with all the beautiful statements about love and hope and faith.
The angry page from my Bible is a daily reminder of what the world thinks. It seems ironic to me: the very Book that offers the answers to suffering, crime, hate, warfare from the One who loves in an everlasting way, is the very Book and the very Person who is hated, reviled, and rejected.
“I hate god,” reminds me that God loves the person who wrote these words.
And I should, too.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16)