It was on my fifty-fourth birthday that Scott gave me a Life Application Bible. I had glanced at it briefly and thought I might start reading it now and then. Scott told me about reading his entire Bible in one year by using The Navigators Daily Walk booklets. I was not interested in doing that. Nevertheless, I thought I might try the Daily Walk beginning with the first of the year.
In the meantime, I had attended a four-week summer Bible study in 1996, a Wednesday night study of Romans conducted by our pastors in 1996–1997. I had also gone back to Gleaners. In all of these, my attendance was sporadic and only at my convenience.
On New Year’s Day, 1998, I opened my new Bible.
I read the daily devotional in The Navigator’s Daily Walk, and then I read the scripture lesson for the day in Genesis, chapters one and two. After reading the scripture, I spent time studying the footnotes at the bottom of each page. However, when I had read the twenty-sixth verse of chapter one in Genesis, the words leaped from the page…
Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. (Genesis 1:26 NIV)
“Oh my,” I thought, “they were all there.”
From the first day I spent with the Daily Walk and my Bible, I was like a dried up sponge, thirsting for more words to freshen me and make me useful. A vapor was being lifted from my eyes, and I knew I was hooked on reading the Bible completely through in one year. I spent each day, early in the morning, going through the routine recommended by The Navigators, and by the end of 1998, I had read the whole Bible from front to back.
The daily readings were not just words, soon to be forgotten. There were leaps of understanding that became a part of me, not word for word, but as concepts and life-sustaining precepts I could rely on. I discovered, after several months of study, that I could depend on God’s Word now, and forever more, because it was the same through and through, no matter whom the inspired writer was. Every single teaching principle that flowed through the pages, from the Old Testament into the New Testament, was consistent and without blemish.
“This is the history of the universe, told in flawless detail,” I told myself.
I began to study, in detail, about people in the Bible. After learning about the lives of people like Abraham, Moses, David, Paul, and the disciples, I realized that my humanity was no different from theirs. I was a fallen human being. I would need to confront my sin, just as they did—at the foot of the cross.
Now, after time in the Word, the hardships of my life had become blessings to me. I saw very clearly how God had watched out for Scott, the children, and me. We were not just lucky, as many people remark after hearing my story. God had planned and protected our lives through all of the years. As He patiently waited for us, He sheltered us. He lavished us with grace. He loved us. He forgave us, and He revealed himself. He had been holding on to us and guiding us through it all.
I had finally become a living part of the Body of Christ at Bear Creek, the church I’d attended since 1975.