How did I forget? Where did the time go? How did it stretch so long?
In my mind's eye, I still see him. Now a thin and fragile old man, he holds in time-worn hands the very words of God. He stands before a small crowd, but the words he speaks are for billions. Words from his very life.
He is a man whom the Lord has made great -- through trial, testing, careful refining with the life-word he treasures. But his is a greatness not perceived by the world. He will likely never stand before a crowd larger than a few hundred, never be on television, never have an audience beyond a small church community. He leads a simple, quiet life.
The world has no idea what it's missing.... It is no matter. God knows and sees.
The impact of one who has lived his life for the Lord is incredible. The testimony, the beauty of the character, the wisdom of one grown up in the Word.
He holds that Bible up, and he says what any other believer could say in reference to it. But coming from him, its simplicity echoes through my being as though it were a new idea.
"This... is... your... LIFE."
More than once he says it, with solemn emphasis.
"This... is... your... LIFE."
And I know it's true. And him speaking these simple words from all these years of struggle near completion, as though they could be the last he ever spoke....
This is wisdom, and it is more powerful in this moment than any eloquence.
Naaman was a man who came seeking greatness but scorned the simple words of life to him (II Kings 5). Is that all? Is that the best you can do?... Have I ever been a Naaman? What wisdom have I missed out on because I was too proud or faithless to see it? Would I dare scorn the One Who gives life? Would I turn away, thinking I know better?... What do my actions reveal?
Never let me forget this moment, I prayed. And never let me forget the simple truth of this statement.
God's word is LIFE.
Bread. Milk. Meat. As fundamental, as basic as that.
If I do not open its pages, feed on its words, let them enter my consciousness and permeate my being -- REGULARLY -- I will STARVE spiritually.
And more than that. It IS the life. God's word GAVE me life. Without the spiritual, the physical is without purpose.
If we do not feed on life, we pursue death.
GOD'S WORD IS LIFE.
This is truth -- basic, simple truth. It should be easy to digest.
Easy to remember.
Yet I have found, since that time years ago, that I have forgotten. More than once. How many times, Lord?... Up to seven times? No... (Matthew 18:21-22)
Oh, not really. I still hear the words in my mind, when I think of it.
The trouble is that I don't always think of it.
There's always an excuse. There are the pleasures, the burdens. There are the people small and large, the responsibilities, the urgencies. There is the physical food, the little folks who request it early and late and in between. There are the clothes, the books, the myriad distractions. There is the weariness of weak flesh. There is whatever combines forces to overpower my faith in that truth.
It happens slowly. It starts so small, so insignificant. Yes I know, and I want to read that chapter, and I believe I need it, I do, but first... and forgetting starts. I drift.
And I let wisdom slip away, out of mind.
I notice somewhere down the line when hunger pangs strike, and I struggle to breathe.
Save me or I perish, Lord! Did I laugh at Peter sinking (Matthew 14:22-33)? At the Israelites who saw wonders and emerged faithless (Exodus 16)? Was I amazed? What of myself?
I recall. Regret. Repent. Start again.
Will I learn? Will I tread the same ground yet again?
The Lord Who calls me to life in simplicity is patient and faithful.
I pick up the life book, and the cards that hold snippets of it, the tidbits my feeble brain can learn to hold.
And in the first minute of still quietness with God's word, I again realize it holds the answer to all I've been missing.
It is MY LIFE.
Make me more like You, Lord. I'm trying again. I really don't want to forget.
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)