If you have been following this blog for the last several days, I am sure that it has become evident to you that I love to tell stories. For some reason, most of my friends would tell you that I seem to be able to recall stories that are suitable for almost any occasion.
Well, tonight I am sitting here and thinking about what to write and all I can think of is the Bible – you know, the whole Bible. I wish I could report to you that I can recite thousands, or even hundreds, of Bible verses by memory. But that is just not the case. The truth is that, if anything, I was a failed reader of Scripture. I tried numerous times throughout my life to tackle reading God’s Word cover to cover, and eventually, I am pleased to report, I actually did read the entire Bible; in fact several times, but I’ll save that story for a different time.
As a young person, I was a fairly good reader – good grades in school and I tested above my grade level in reading, which was very important to my parents. Somehow, I think that I took it on as a sort of challenge that at the beginning of each year, I would get out my Bible and begin a quest to finish The Book during the year; a New Year’s resolution kind of thing. After all, that is the ultimate reading quest, isn’t it?
Well, I think once I got through Genesis, maybe, and I seem to recall that one year I got all the way to Leviticus – but I just could not get through all that dry stuff about the laws and dietary restrictions. But I kept trying and every year I would get myself psyched up to begin again. As I look back on it, I am surprised that I kept trying – and didn’t just give up completely. As I entered my mid-teens, I actually got excited each year when I started Genesis.
And therein lies the whole point of this story. Genesis 1:1 was the first verse I ever memorized – not that I tried to do it, but when you read something that many times, over that many years, it tends to stick in your brain. And so, believe it or not, it became my favorite verse in the Bible. You know, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” And then, verse 2, “and the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the water.” And I have found that whenever I start thinking about reading the Bible, I have to recite Gen. 1:1, like I just did two sentences ago. It’s part of my DNA.
I have often wondered why my favorite verse is not something more theologically deep, like John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should never die, but have eternal life.” Or how about Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”
But I think I have figured it out, and the reason I love Gen. 1:1 so much is that it represents the beginning of God’s story of His people, and His love for us. While it may include history, and guidelines for living, and all those Psalms and Proverbs, at its core, the Bible is the greatest story ever told, and not just any kind of story; it is a LOVE story, complete with a happy ending. And I just love happy endings.
So my encouragement to you is to take a moment and reflect on how much God loves you – more than you know! And His love for you will continue throughout all eternity. I don’t even know how to wrap my brain around that. But one thing is for sure, and that is that we have God’s assurance, through His Word, on how it all turns out. Revelation 22:21, the last verse in the Bible, tells us, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”