Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blessed Each Day: The Word of God

My family likes to listen to audio books when we're traveling back and forth to Wichita to visit my parents.  A few months ago my mom gave us an audio book about a missionary couple that was kidnapped and ransomed in the Philippines back in 2001.  In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham  A captivating and much recommended book.
As we listened to the horrors this couple went through for over a year, in the hands of their muslim captors, one thing became stunningly clear.  More than soap, more than proper clothes, more than medical care, more even than food...what this couple missed most was their Bible.  The Word of God.  All they had was what was committed to memory, and the few passages that made it to them in letters over the months of their captivity.
Can you imagine?  I really don't think most American can even imagine it.  We walk in from church every Sunday and plunk our Bible down on the table.  Or maybe it goes on a certain shelf not to be picked up until the following Sunday morning.  Maybe we have one Bible for couples, another for our gender, another for serious study, and another "general" one for church.  Bibles, Bibles, everywhere!  We make little jokes about every hotel and motel room having a Bible in the nightstand drawer.  Many people in my church (a GREAT church that I love) don't even bring a Bible anymore.  Why?  You can read the Bible on your phone screen or on the big projector screen in service.  Why carry the book with you?
What the Burnham family, kidnapped in the Philippines wouldn't have given for one chapter...  What so many orphans and poverty-stricken Christian families in Ghana and other Christian nations wouldn't give to have ONE Bible in their own language.  Precious words of God.
If you're like me (and maybe you're not) you take your Bible for granted far too often.  I just assume it will always be there.  I can refer to it whenever I want, in a myriad of different ways.  Oh, how blessed I am to live in a place where I have the luxury to EVER take the Bible for granted.  Ever.
After hearing the Burnham's story, and contemplating the situation of so many others without the luxury of even a complete Bible, a complete book, or chapter...I am resound in my commitment to never take it as granted again.  Bibles aren't allowed in Brunei.  Underground churches in China aren't even allowed to own Bibles.  Instead, several members hide a chapter or two here or there in their homes, hoping to make a complete Bible as a church.  In Iran, you can be put to death for owning a Bible. {source:}
Yes, I am blessed, each day, by the Word of God.