This morning, I sat on a picnic table with the sun beating down on my neck as I read through the 2nd and 3rd chapters of John with a 20something who is in addiction recovery.
And we talked about crazy John the Baptist, and the first few disciples who bravely followed the seemingly-insignificant Jesus of Nazareth, and the way his mother got a little bossy, which instigated his first miracle of turning water into wine.
The person of Jesus was alive between us, and we were both excited about his ministry getting started in the beginning of John. And after we read and talked for awhile, I reached into my bag, and pulled out something wrapped in sparkly purple paper. "I've got something for you," I said. "And this slow grin just broke out over her face, and she said, "It's a Bible, isn't it?" with excitement in her voice. "I've never had my own before..." And looking inside she said, "And it has words I can understand, too."
And something within me shivered, picturing the many Bibles at home upon my shelf, so many of them untouched.
I told her to mark up her Bible, to not be afraid of it. I recommended she keep on going through John for the story of Jesus' ministry, and that she consider reading the Psalms, especially Psalm 139. I told her God delights in her.
I prayed for her and she said each time we meet her heart leaves lighter, and I told her that is because her spirit is involved. That she is made to know God.
And then she grabbed her brand-new Bible in her arms and turned to go back inside, promising to meet me there next week. And I don't know whose heart was more filled up to the brim with joy, dribbling out as I got up from the picnic table to walk to my car.
"For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the [a]breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, The Amplified Bible