Norman Vincent Peal told of a woman who had a daughter of eighteen who went riding and was thrown from her horse and killed. The mother had seen her ride away with her cheeks radiant and her spirits high; now she saw her brought back with her eyes closed and her face stilled with death. She could not accept it. And she could not recover from the blow. Deciding to go away to try to forget, she went to a quiet place in the country. But the awful memory went with her. Then as she sat in her room one evening, she took out her Bible and began to read. She read the first Psalm, then one by one, read each of the Psalms down to the very last word. She finished and shut the book. She sat quietly, lost in reflection; then she said to herself, with complete conviction: “The men who wrote those Psalms knew about life! They went through suffering just as I am, and they found the answer. And so have I.” At that moment her old stability returned to her and she was able to pick up her life again. When her minister asked her exactly what the reading of the Psalms had done for her, she replied, “They gave me the answer I was looking for. And I believed it. The God of the Psalms can be trusted.”
What a message this has for us. The Bible is not a book of untested theories written by armchair generals. It is the testimony of men and women who have found, mostly the hard way, that “the God of the Psalms can be trusted.” We Christians are often ridiculed as being ”the people of the Book” and for putting our hope in an unchanging revelation. I see no need to deny or apologize for those charges. Our world is falling apart because it has nothing to grab hold of that won’t change or give way. When the Apostle Paul was trying to encourage Timothy, his young son in the Faith who was undergoing persecution and ridicule, he reminded him that “from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” He counseled him to continue in them “so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 2:15-16).
I believe that. Each Sunday morning we make study and application of the Bible a high priority in our Worship time. It may seem “quaint” that I ask people to bring their Bibles to church and follow along as I speak, but I am convinced that the text I am dealing with comes form God directly into our contemporary situation. What I do with that text and how I apply it is up to my prayerful study and preparation. Pray for me, and for all of us that the teaching and reception may be guided and blessed by Him!
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship