Saturday, June 11, 2011

Assurance to Last a Lifetime

I love opening my Bible to Isaiah 45-46.  It's right about in the middle, so it's not difficult to "stumble" upon ...though, is there really any such thing as "stumbling" upon a Bible passage?  I'm fairly certain God is smarter than that.

The words in these chapters are beautiful and significant, but to me, they have had a deeper meaning since 2003.  I was in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, at the campground for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and, having just finished my third year of college, I was feeling some confusion.  In a history class the previous fall semester, we had discussed the Bible as folk writing or myth, and it made me uncomfortable.  Not because I was offended that someone could be passing off my beliefs so nonchalantly, but because, for the first time in my life, I actually considered the fact that it could, I suppose, be a myth after all.

I wanted to believe in God; don't get me wrong.  And so I went in search of some sort of assurance, verification, anything I could find.  Anything I could grasp and keep a hold of.  In that search, I "randomly" (ha) opened my Bible to those chapters in Isaiah, and as I began to read, on the breezy shore of Lake Huron, I slowly started to feel more confident.

"I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.  I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me.  I am the Lord, and there is no other."  Isaiah 45:5-6

It doesn't end there.  As I read--devoured--these words, reading on ahead and backtracking to previous chapters, the theme continued.  "I am the Lord; there is no other."  Over and over and over again.  As if someone really needed to hear it, needed it pounded in their head so they would not forget.

That day, that someone was me.

But when God really wants us to remember something, He always finds an unusual or unique way to make it stick.  And so at that moment, as I held my Bible in my hands and began to feel His love and His very real presence wrap around me, it started to rain.  Drip-drop on those thin Bible pages, but I kept reading.  Later, when the pages dried, they dried wrinkled.  They are still wrinkled today, eight years later.  I cannot open my Bible to Isaiah without being reminded that God met me that day, reassured me that day, and never wanted me to forget it.  Ever.

That was the day that I knew, without an inkling of a doubt in my mind, that God exists.  That experience will never be taken away from me, and I will always smile at those wrinkly pages in the middle of His Word.

"And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me."  Isaiah 45:21b