The year was 2006, and I had invited some friends to join me in Beth Moore’s study, Beloved Disciple.
It had been a rough 15 months since my mom moved to heaven. It seemed like everything had changed.
One of my last memories with Mom was reading to her from 2 Corinthians 4 in preparation for her departure. Although neither of us said so, we both knew she would be leaving soon.
She ‘graduated’ a short two days later.
Then, I did something interesting. I took the Bible I’d read from and put it on the shelf. I couldn’t say why, but there it was, and there it stayed.
Meanwhile, I continued to listen to sermons on cassette (remember those?). Every Sunday I went to church…without my Bible. I continued to talk to the Lord – just didn’t want to read His Book!
When I decided to do Beth’s study, I had a situation. How does one complete a Bible study without a Bible?
There seemed only one thing to do. I went to the book store and bought a new one.
At that time, I did not feel loved at all. Like I said, it had been a very rough time. Within two months, I would also be bidding my step-father and brother farewell. Because of their own grief, my children did not come home for holidays, which made my mom’s absence that much harder to endure. Other relationship issues had taken their toll as well.
As an act of faith, I had my name engraved on the Bible’s cover. Oh, not that I didn’t know my name; it is what I had written beneath it that was risky.
Later that day, I picked up my new “Friend.” There in gold letters against the black background was the boldest statement I would ever make to the world:
Tami – Beloved of God
I carried it home and set some books on top. I didn’t want anyone to see what I’d done.
At the beginning of the Beloved Disciple Bible study, I told the Lord:
You see what I have written here. I don’t believe it…not even a little. By the end of this study, I want to know in the same way as John did that I am Your beloved child.
God is so faithful!
While I did not have the depth of assurance that I longed for, I began to understand the Lord’s love for me.
Meanwhile, whenever I took my Bible with me, I always kept the cover hidden. I was embarrassed, afraid that others would put me down for thinking ‘so highly of myself.’ Or might point out all the reasons why I was unlovable.
It would be two more years before I was able to confidently state that God loved me.
I love that Bible. It became like my Teddy bear – and often I would sleep with it snuggled in my arms. Mind you, it wasn’t the Book itself that captured my heart, but the Lord of the Book.
In the years since that time, my confidence in God’s love has grown to proportions I never dared dream were possible.
Through this, I’ve come to understand that while we state that we want more of God, the truth is that He wants more of us…that’s why He created us!
By the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross – and His resurrection – we have the opportunity to be in communion with our Father in the same way as Adam and Eve did before the Fall. The finished work of Christ opened the way for us to be in relationship with God – something few people of the Old Testament were able to enjoy.
He loves us with everlasting love – and therefore has drawn us with lovingkindness. Do we even begin to comprehend His great love?
Why not make this the year that one of our resolutions will be that God will have more of us? It may take a bit of work; after all, who gives themselves over to a God they don’t trust?
Ask Him to transform you by renewing your mind concerning what you believe to be true about Him. After all, Jesus said that when we know truth, then that truth can set us free!
Eight years later (from what seems like a lifetime ago), I am going through Beloved Disciple again. This time it is with fresh eyes. This time I know in my ‘knower’ that I am loved. I can’t wait to see what He has in store this time through. I know the Lord well enough to know that it will be good!
We always ask for more of you. In this request, we realize that we’ve been a bit one-sided.
‘Gimme, gimme’ is our cry. However, in order for a relationship to work well, it must be give and take.
Sadly, we do not trust you – and so stand at a distance from You. We are happy to receive, but afraid of what You might ask of us if we draw closer.
Help us know You better, to learn what Your heart is like, and to move from dreadful fear to reverential awe and confidence that You are for us – not against us.
May this be the year that we give You more of ourselves as we receive fresh revelation of Your nature.
In Jesus’ name,