My current everyday Bible is a very slim NKJV I received from my mom for my twentieth birthday. Just a few months later I headed off to Oxford for my first semester studying abroad with that Bible in tow. Since its maiden voyage, that Bible has been all over the world, from the States to Europe, Africa, and many places in between.
I love my Bible. I love its textured “is it brown? is it maroon?” cover with the slightly chipped gold letters forming my maiden name in the bottom right corner. I love the quotes collected over the past six years creating a patchwork of truth on the first blank pages. I love my mom’s inscription written in her perfect cursive. I love seeing the letter Tim wrote me last summer stuck amidst the Psalms. I love the slightly bubbled pages of 1 Corinthians, aftermath of some rogue rain drops. I love the yellow colored pencil over references to God’s light. I love the sound of the paper thin sheets being turned.
Most of all, I love the underlines. I love the notes crammed in the margins, some completely illegible. I love the dates, denoting a promise or a commitment, next to a poignant verse. All of those brackets, circles, cross references, notes, stars and underlines remind me that God speaks.
He speaks to me. When I invest in His word, He is faithful to reveal Himself. Those markings prove to me that God is personal, alive and active in my heart.
But I’ve become distracted. I read and I linger over the underlines and notes, inattentive to what God wants to show me today. I rely on the familiar for comfort and strength. My notes and underlines that speak life also create traps, snares for the nuggets hidden between the lines.
I’ve decided to retire my beloved Bible for a time. A tabula rasa, if you will, takes its place. When I think to much about the blank pages ahead, I fear that they will remain blank. What if I’ve lost my ability to hear from God? What if God can’t speak to my heart? When that happens, I can just look at the slim spine sitting on my bookshelf and remember all the little piles of stones that reside among those pages, evidence of God’s faithfulness to His people, to me.