Our home was one that was without a bible for many years. But then one day something happened and I needed a bible. I needed one desperately. I had no faith then, I had to lean on something that was tangible. As the years went by I learned about faith, hope and the bible.
A home without a bible
What is the difference between trust and faith? Trust is: knowing God can. Faith is knowing God will.
Faith is: knowing God will do it! ďFaith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.Ē That is in the bible. Hebrews 11:1. But sometimes it takes a long time to have faith. It took a long time for me.
We didnít have a bible in our home in 1982. We werenít going to church then, and even though Eddie and I had belonged to a Methodist church all our married years and up until the last few years, had attended church faithfully, we had just slowly gotten out of the habit of going.
But then something happened in 1982. Our daughter Julie almost died with a cerebral hemorrhage. She was in coma and near death for weeks. The doctors didnít give us much hope that she would pull through, and even if she would, the prognosis was not good. I needed faith, or hope or something!
We used to have a bible. Eddieís mother had given it to him many years ago, after we were married. It sat on a shelf and I dusted it sometimes. It was a treasured keepsake. I would open it sometimes when I was dusting it and read it, but the words made no sense to me! One day, Eddieís brother wanted it, because he said he had given it to her a long time ago. His mother had died in 1969. We were happy to do that for him. Eddie gladly gave him the bible. We didnít read it anyway. It was a family treasure.
So in those days before 1982, we had no bible. Who needed a bible? No one carried a bible from home. The preacher always read from it, and if we wanted to follow, we could use the bible on the back of the pew in the church. We didnít have bible studies in our home. We didnít have daily prayers or read the bible. The preacher did that on Sunday as did the Sunday school teacher in our classes. The rest of the week, we thought we didnít need a bible. But that was the way it was in our church. And that was the way with us. Truth is known, I am sorry to say.
When the terrible thing happened to Julie, I did not have any faith. What I had was stubbornness. When six months later our daughter was still in the hospital, in sort of a semi coma, the doctor told us she would never get much better. I would not accept that. She would be like that the rest of her life, the doctor told us. The doctor and the social worker they sent to us told me I was in denial. I must accept the fact she would always be like that.
I said to the doctor, ďYou are wrong! I donít believe it. She is slowly getting better.Ē
He said, ďItís too slow. You are still in denial.Ē
I know he was just doing his job. He was a doctor and could see the facts and how slowly she was recovering. But if what I had was denial, it was okay, because that was the way I was going to cope with the situation. Did I have faith? I donít think so. Not then. I had hope though. I believed in God, but I didnít have a personal relationship with Him. I didnít talk to him on a daily basis. He was always ďup thereĒ in Heaven, waiting for me to die to be sure when I would see Him face to face. At that point it was not faith that kept me going. I think it was stubbornness. It was tenacity. And it was hope.
One day I found a little bible up in the closet. It was Julieís given to her by the church when she was 11 years old. I began to read it. Would I find a clue in there that God was real, was there something hidden in the book, that I had never seen before? I needed to know the truth. I was desperate! Would God make Julie better? I read the little childrenís bible, every night when I came home from the hospital. It still didnít register with me. It seemed like just a history book. And it had bright colored pictures! That made it easier for me to read!
We started going to a big spirit-filled Methodist church in January 1983. Julie was still in the hospital. We loved it. It was not like anything we had seen or heard before. People clapped and sang and went to the altar for prayer, where the pastors prayed for them. Eddie and I always said it was ďaliveĒ. And I saw people carrying their bibles with them to church! What was this? Didnít they have bibles in the church? Yes, they did, but everyone had their own bibles and read them in church! I supposed they read them at home too?
We now had a church, a vibrant church with people that believed in taking your bible to church, reading it not only in church but at home. We went to bible studies, home fellowship groups that studied the bible, and suddenly, one day, I had an intimate relationship with God.
I made a recommitment to God, and asked for them to pray for me to get the Holy Ghost. I wanted to be filled with Him and overflowing with what Jesus said, was the Living Water. I found out when we immersed ourselves in God, and fellowship with people around us that had a very personal relationship with God, and really read the bible, and studied the bible - He was real. The bible became real to me. And suddenly I knew that when I read it, Jesus was talking to me! God was alive and the Holy Spirit was living in me, and on this earth! The bible was not just history book!
God was not only in Heaven, he sent Jesus to us, and when Jesus died on the cross, He arose, lived on his earth for 40 days, and then sent the Holy Spirit to live IN us! Wow. I now had a personal relationship with a real person. And as I grew spiritually, my faith grew! I began to see answers to my prayers, and answers to other peopleís prayers, and I saw many miracles and as I did my faith grew even more. I even experienced miracles myself. Everywhere I took Julie, people came up to us asked if they could pray for her, even in the malls. She received never ending prayer all the time.
And slowly Julie got better, getting out of her wheelchair 13 years later! She walked, she talked, she laughed, she cried. She did all the things that the doctor said she never would! God did miracles all around me. I became a believer. My faith grew by leaps and bounds.
I realized our God is a really Big God, and not this little bitty God who lives in heaven. I believe God is good, even when things happen that I donít understand. I donít know why bad things happen. But I still believe in God and His goodness.
Like my granddaughter Lacey, suddenly dying at age 19, and my children having so much trouble in their marriages, getting deep in drugs and alcohol, and me having a heart attack when I always was so healthy, and then my husband getting Alzheimerís, living for 10 years after with it- passing away then, after me having a stroke, five days before, my children and grandchildren fighting and not speaking to each other sometimes. Life is so hard, but there is always a bright light, a silver lining I look for. Certainly good things have happened too. Answers to prayer, miracles, live saved when they should have been dead. Joy in the midst of sorrow. And when I struggle with my faith, I open my bible to find comfort and strength.
All these things happened, and I donít understand why they happened. Only God does. I do know that God gives people choices in their lives, and the devil walks around just waiting for us to make a little mistake, and then pounces on us. He has not been happy that all my children and grandchildren know the Lord, and he continually tries to take them out, and the devil causes havoc. Sometimes even I struggle and slowly believe as he whispers lies into my head and I donít believe God. But suddenly I wake up like out a deep slumber, and realize I believe the devil and his lies. And I tell him to take a hike, that I believe God and not him, and I still believe God is good, and he will make everything turn out okay in the end. Ah, that felt so good, and I breathe a sigh of relief!
All I know is that I still trust him, and I still have faith, even when things are falling apart all around me and in my family. I still trust God, and have a lot of faith and my faith is increasing more and more each day.
Thatís the only way I can live and be happy. Even when my faith is small, it is still there, and if I nurture it and continue to read my bible and stand on the promises of God (Yes, I have a bible now. In fact I have about 15 or 20 bibles, every kind of bible in the world! I like to study different versions, and have read the bible through several times. I have come a long way in the last 28 years).
So I think people canít teach you about faith. You only learn about faith, when you walk through the fires, floods, and storms of life. And nobody can take that away from you!
I have my bible beside me always. Most people have their cell phone near them, and canít leave home without it. I have to a bible close by all the time. Most times I canít even find my cell phone! We keep a bible in the car, just in case. It always has good news for me. The phone sure doesnít always have good news. God has increased my faith. I have what you call ďever increasing faithĒ.