In connection with our “Reading the Bible For All Its Worth” series, we asked church members to send in brief stories describing how they have been affected through Bible reading, study, meditation and/or memorization. Here are the first few, shared by permission. We hope you find them encouraging.
In the spring of 2011, I studied 1 and 2 Peter with a group of women, with a focus on suffering and trials. Prior to this study, I had experienced some difficulties in life, but never anything I would consider a “BIG trial” that could shake my faith. Then I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in July, 2011. After undergoing a thyroidectomy, I sustained damaged vocal cords and couldn’t speak. This was a pivotal moment for me to continue to trust God when I felt my world was shaking. I could continue to trust Him or respond in anger and bitterness. I chose to trust. God proved his faithfulness through the prayers and acts of practical help by many people, and answered prayers for my vocal healing after seven weeks with no voice. Throughout this experience, the Holy Spirit often brought to my mind different Bible verses that comforted and strengthened me, verses that I had studied and meditated on in the past. I am so thankful for the time I had spent in the past studying His word and how it spoke to me during my most difficult trial so far. —Pamela Ward
I had a hard time joining the church. As someone from an ethnic minority, it was very hard at first to look at people that go to our church as my brothers and sisters when I had nothing in common with them. When I was asked to choose my care group, I prayed that God would pick them for me and found myself with people I would have normally avoided or not befriended. Reading and studying the Bible at that time I was dealing with this, I started to pray and accept them as God does, to believe that church unity is stronger than blood ties. Reading the Bible has helped me overcome and not label people that are not like me. And after a while, by reading Scripture, I started to look at eight beautiful people as brothers and sisters. —Brigette Nichols
I am reminded afresh of God’s faithfulness as I look back on the last 40 years of my life. I can still remember certain verses that sustained me in each season of life. As a young person looking for work and direction, it was Psalm 25. When the children were young and finances were tight, it was Psalm 37:25. During bouts of depression, it was Psalm 40. These last 6 years, it has been Romans 12:12. I could go on and on recounting the Lord’s favor and mercy in my life and family through sickness, trials and joys. His word does not return void as we wait for the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. —Mary Baker