This morning I was thinking back to the time when my mom gave me the bible I use today. The bible was originally hers. I was 18 when she passed it on to me, and she had already made countless notes inside that I would later go on to reference a million times. But that’s not how it first started with me.
I grew up in the church. I was saved and baptized at age 12. I was at church every Wednesday and all day Sunday. I was in Girls in Action and bible drill. I sang in the kid’s choir. All the things. I’d love to be able to tell you that when my mom gave me her bible, I was overcome with joy. But I wasn’t. At 18, I was busy trying to find acceptance from outside of a relationship with the Lord and his church. While I knew I needed to read God’s word daily (because that’s what I had been taught), I didn’t value the word of God in my life. Oddly enough, I remember carrying my bible with me in the car everywhere I went, but I never cracked it open. There was a time that I was pulled over for speeding and while my vehicle was being searched, I saw the bible I use today in my trunk. Now there’s a metaphor- there’s Jess speeding through life in pursuit of the things she wanted. Jesus wasn’t my co-pilot. He wasn’t even in the backseat. I put him in the trunk where he quietly and patiently waited, even pulling me over on the side of a highway just so he could remind that he’s still there, waiting.
I didn’t have much when I moved to Dallas for work. I was alone in a new city, no friends, unfamiliar territory, and so on. A couple of weeks after I relocated my dad filed for divorce, and it left my mother in a tailspin. I felt powerless to do anything to help her. I remember crying a lot. When I’d get home from work, I didn’t have cable, so I’d sit and eat dinner and read the only book I brought with me- my bible. Long lonely nights turned into weeks, but I remember being comforted just holding and reading the words I heard over and over again at church as a child. Some nights I would cry and hug my bible because I just needed a hug. And I would imagine Jesus hugging me back. I didn’t realize it at the time, but God used everything to redirect, not only my life path, but my spiritual life path where we would walk together into the future.
Fast forward to today. I’m a completely different person in a completely different place with a family of my own. This morning, as I picked up my bible to read, the Lord reminded me of the times when I used to hug my bible. At first glance you’d notice that the leather cover is worn and torn and the spine needs help, but when I look at it, I see the evidence of relationship. I see and feel unconditional love breathing on me from it’s pages. I am more respectful of and careful to understand the sharp edges of the weapon He’s entrusted me with. Have you ever seen one of those books that opens up and it’s not really a book, but a place for hiding something valuable? That’s what I think of when I look at my bible. There’s so much treasure inside that goes unnoticed to the untrained eye and undisciplined mind. You didn’t know I was a millionaire, did you?!
This morning I was thanking him for His word. It’s so much more than instruction and wisdom. God is so good, and I love that he creates artists, writers, poets -his people- to create divinely inspired eternal beauty from his heart. His words are so beautiful. Not only does he teach us, but he shows us and trains us how to be divine partakers in his creative genius. I am so thankful for his proverbs; his wisdom; his poetry; his love letters. I’m grateful for the treasures he’s buried deep in his word. Thank you, Lord for calling me to be a treasure hunter and to search for you in the depths of your word. Just when I think I have found you, you call me deeper to reveal even greater secrets of your heart. Jesus, make me skilled in the art of diving to know you more intimately.
As I finished writing, the Lord spoke this to me, and I wrote it down to share:
“There are those who prefer to stay ankle deep while some prefer to watch the waves from a place of security on the beach. But I am found in the depths. In the place where the only safety is Me. I can be found with the deep, hidden things. The deep calls to deep. You know there is more, but will you move away from the shore and come to a place where your feet no longer touch the ground? Will you let go? Will you come away from “safe” and search for Me as a diver searches for treasure? I have silver and gold for you to find in my treasure map. I have riches that will exceed anything you’ve ever known. I am calling you to hunt for My treasure.”
There are deeper things that the Lord wants to teach you, if you will make margin in your schedule to dive deeper into his word. As I wrote this word out, I was reminded of the parable of hidden treasure recorded in Matthew 13:44. It states, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy when out and sold all he had and bought that field.” The man in the parable stumbled upon the treasure buried deep. He immediately recognized its value, and he became immediately willing to give up everything to have it. The same goes for the pearl merchant. When he found the pearl of great price, he went and sold everything he owned to buy that single pearl. I guess the question here is, are we treating God’s word like the priceless treasure it is, or are we throwing it in the trunk of our lives?
Our relationship with the Lord will be as shallow or as deep as we allow it to be. I can say there was a time where I watched others around me have this intimate relationship with the Lord, and I wondered, “Why don’t I feel that way?” I thought I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing. In hindsight, I can tell you, I was on the seashore, not in the ocean. I was watching when I thought I was swimming. Can you relate? I needed swimming lessons. And major trust lessons. There are days where I dive, and days like today where I stay at snorkeling level. God understands our humanity. Let’s just not make a habit of being okay with shallow anything. Shallow faith, shallow bible study. Shallow relationships. Shallow living. God is calling us to swim all the way to the bottom. Allow him to train your breathing and your endurance to search for the deep, hidden treasures he’s got waiting for you there.