I have a relatively small office where I have one to two thousand of my most important books. Another shelf at home with older, more collectible books. Then, in my garage I have about forty boxes of books that are important to me but didn’t make the cut!
Today I was throwing some things away, and while sifting through some of the boxes of books I found a Bible that I did not recognize. I was going to put it in the box at church where old Bibles are collected. I happened to thumb through it to be sure that the binding wasn’t messed up when I noticed some notes in the margin above Psalm 91. This was one of my mother’s Bibles.
My mom went to heaven about four and a half years ago. She was a wonderful mom and follower of Jesus. Pentecostal through and through. I still remember messages in tongues that would ring out across the congregation as my mom gave way to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Her life at times was only held together by her love of God, family, and the trials she was walking through. She never had much in the way of material things. My dad was a very difficult man who made her life hell only to cheat on her after thirty some odd years of marriage.
When she died I became paralyzed by depression and anxiety—so paralyzed that I didn’t even attend her funeral. I couldn’t. That fact set me back even further during that period of my life. But she would not have been hurt by that. She and I were always close and we never failed to talk about our love for each other.
As things turned out I never had the chance to receive any of the personal items that would have meant so much to me to have: her high school annuals, keep sakes that I gave her or that she saved for me. So, when I found one of her Bibles I was truly blessed. In it she wrote:
Experienced holy laughter in kitchen
And God gave me this passage—he will never fail us!
Everything is gonna be alright.
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: My God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; Nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; Nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, And ten thousand at thy right hand; But it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: The young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, And shew him my salvation.