We gathered right before bedtime, on either my brother or my own bed. There my Dad read a Bible story each night. The children’s picture Bible pages were thick and the cover brown. The stories became a parting promise to sleep. On a nail above my little white bed hung a small glow-in-the-dark cross. The stories were pressed into my heart over time.
As a teenager, full of uncertain awkwardness, the pages of my blue study Bible grew worn, underlined, highlighted. Those words were something to cling to when everything felt uncertain. The story of Samuel answering, here I am seeps deep into my consciousness. This is something I can do. I can say here I am to God, every day, no matter what the future holds
In college, the summers bring camp counseling. On a silent retreat, I find myself in the woods, Isaiah 55 leaps off the paper thin Bible pages. Come all who are thirsty. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will hasten to you. God’s word will not come back to him empty. I want to come. I am compelled to say here I am.
The portrait of Jesus, bent in love and single-minded upon justice; forms my past and my future work. That is who he is; that is who I want to be. I know this from his word.
In adulthood the word of God pierces broken moments with consolation and also with rebuke. Either way, the word is life to my heart. In our weakness we are given promise that we are loved and rescued. Not only loved and rescued, but also formed, created and given a unique purpose.
The Word of God has been everything to me, reviving my soul, and lifting me from the deepest places of my own fears. Sometimes in those dark moments, God feels so silent and far from my heart. I open the pages he has given, and yes, he is still present, loving me. Hope.
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Lisa Van Engen is a freelance writer from Holland, Michigan, who blogs daily at aboutproximity.com. She combines her background in social work and ministry with her love of writing to help people place themselves in the proximity of renewal. She is a member of the Global Team of 200 and the Exodus Road Blogging Team. Lisa is married to Kris, a congregational social justice mobilizer with World Renew. They and their kids Ellie and Josiah love to laugh, take adventure hikes, and go to Lake Michigan.