Don’t Forget to Bring the Rain
Written April 2, 2012
J. M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, once said “God gave us memories that we might have roses in December.” When I look back on so many of my memories from childhood I must say that there is an abundance of roses I can enjoy any time of the year. One memory in particular that brings a smile to my face is actually a memory of many occurrences that I experienced back in elementary school. I remember going to church with my mom and sitting in the balcony with her and my sister. While there, it occurred to me that every Sunday I would hear it rain. This was perplexing to me because it happened at about the same time during the service each week and after the service when we walked to the car, there was no evidence of any precipitation on the ground or the car. I remember being in service listening to the rain and looking at the stained glass windows which were brightly shining as the unhindered sun illuminated them. As you can imagine this taxed my little brain as this was a conundrum that I could not figure out.
The answer finally came out when I noticed just what was occurring when I heard the rain. You see, when I heard the rain, I automatically looked up to the ceiling or to the widows trying to see the clouds or hear the droplets better. Instead I should have looked down and I would have seen all the people in pews below me and around me taking their Bibles and turning to the passage that the preacher had just announced. The little crinkling of pages multiplied by a few hundred caused a sound to come resonating throughout the sanctuary just like rain hitting the roof. This was most audible when the preacher had everyone turn to a particular passage during the sermon to make a specific point and on cue the pages began to be flipped.
Now I must admit I felt both proud and a little silly upon this realization. However, I did find myself in amazement over the sheer number of Bibles that were being opened and flipped through as the church prepared to listen to the sermon. I cannot remember hearing that sound for a long time. There are a couple of reasons for this. One of the reasons is because the acoustics of the church I grew up in were such that it helped amplify the sound. Another is that Bibles today are not always made with that special crinkly paper, some have coated paper to avoid tearing, others are made with a more book-like paper that is heavier and doesn’t crinkle like the Bible I received for my 16th birthday from my mom. Sadly though, one other reason is that there are many that simply don’t carry their Bibles to church any more.
One of the struggles that we face today is that it is so easy to leave our Bibles on our bookshelves never bring them with us when we gather together to worship the Lord. Our Sunday school quarterly has the Scriptures printed neatly inside of them and everyone is able to follow along as a class. During the worship service at Mars Hill as well as countless other churches the Scripture for the day is printed neatly in both the back of the bulletin and projected on the Powerpoint screen. Now all these things are great and help us out tremendously in studying the Word but we miss the opportunity to hone our skills in studying the Bible and practicing the art of opening our Bible and follow along with the lessons we are taught. We also miss the opportunity to receive a huge blessings by having our Bible in our hands. In my life I’ve gone through a couple of Bibles and I can honestly say that each has a special place in my heart for what God taught me through it. Many of the blessings I have received are in part because I had my Bible with me in church, that I could see and underline passages that were being taught and expounded upon.
There is a something special about having a personal copy of God’s Word in your hand and taking that Bible and opening it and following along as the preacher or Sunday school teacher delivers the lesson for the day. For some reason the message has a way of permeating our hearts deeper and sticking with us longer. Perhaps it is the dual system of learning through both listening and looking, maybe it is because it requires more effort on our part to look and listen and we work harder at learning when we have our Bibles open and follow along, it might even be that God is honoring and blessing the effort we make in seeking Him through His Word, but whatever it is that blessing we receive in deeply getting to know the message from the pulpit or Sunday school lesson is priceless and can be life changing.
My encouragement for you as you read this is simple, each Sunday morning don’t forget your Bible. If you are one that feels lost without your Bible in your hands, good for you. I don’t think God intended His Word to be an optional accessory in our wardrobe of life. Continue taking it and using it in Sunday school, the morning worship, and throughout the week. If you are one that is devout in bringing your Sunday school quarterly and reading from it regularly let me challenge you to add your Bible into your routine, open it up and begin using it both in the Sunday school hour and the worship service and see if there is not a great blessing to be found in searching the Scriptures. I recently had the privilege of conducting a funeral for a dear lady and I was able to read from her Bible in the eulogy. Contained within it was a plethora of underline verses, notes, and markings that showed how much she studied her copy of God’s Word. I’m sure that there were days she could go back and thumb through those passages that she marked and remember the spiritual gems that she found before. Parents encourage your children to bring their Bibles. Teach them to cherish it regardless of whether their copy of the Scriptures is found on a iPad or Kindle fire or an ebook reader. Teach them to cherish their copy of the Word of God and it will be a life long companion to them that will influence and direct their lives. Sunday school teachers encourage people to have their Bibles. It is a priceless treasure that God has given to us.
In thinking about that phenomenon and how things have changed over the years the one thing that has remained a constant is the need we all have to bring our Bibles to church and use our Bibles throughout all our life. God intended His Word to be so many things to the believer. Psalm 119 is so revealing of this truth, in this Psalm it is revealed that God’s word is to be a lamp (vs. 105), a source of delight (vs. 92), a way to keep our lives pure (vs. 9), as well as so many other things.
You know when we think about it, others need to see us take our Bibles to church as well. Fathers and mothers, your kids need to see that you value God’s Word that they might learn to value it as well. For the lost world seeking meaning and purpose what a testimony for them to see the value we place on the Holy Word that has the greatest news of all, that of Jesus Christ.
So this Sunday as you grab your car keys and herd the family into the car for church don’t forget to bring the rain. It will not only bring showers of blessing on you and also on others as well.