A Love for His Word

Boarding a plane in Chicago, is pretty routine for me by now. Fifteen hours at 30,000 feet is almost mundane. Curling into a tiny ball, positioning my head against the concave form of the window and drifting off to sleep is no longer an impossible challenge.  I have become adept to this kind of travel in the four years that I’ve been part of building the Bible Translation program called MAST. A nd the honest truth is, for the most part I love it. I actually enjoy flying. I love seeing new places. I even like airplane food! I am a gypsy at heart. But of course, the best part is what I travel for.

All over the world  I meet fellow believers hungry for God’s Word, eager for help to get it translated into their own heart language. And I hear stories like this one Isaac of Southeast Asia told me last night:

He’s 93 years old, and he insisted on coming out of his village to be at the New Testament dedication. This is no easy journey. The first day he walked all day.”  Wait a minute! The first day? How many days did he travel?  I wonder.

“Then he traveled for 3 days by bus. It takes four days to get to the city from his village. But he had to come. He had to tell us how thankful he is to finally have Scripture in his language. With tears in his eyes he spoke to our group at the dedication. He thanked the translators and leaders of this project for finally getting the Scriptures for his people. His eyes are pretty bad. I don’t know if he can even read it for himself. But he is overwhelmed by joy and gratitude for what this means to his people.”

Wow! what a story! How precious this man’s years of waiting are in the eyes of our Father. How beautiful his grateful heart!

I am reminded of David’s reverence for God’s precious word.  “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…Remember your word to your servant, upon which you have caused me to hope….the law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” (Excerpts from Psalm 119)

And I am challenged.  Do I love God’s Word with this kind of fervor? I travel in relative comfort for a mere day to come to these workshops. But this man at 93 years old traveled for days, walked for hours, to be here. And he came simply to be a part of the community of God, rejoicing in the hope of God’s Word.

Sometimes I think the availability of Scripture in the English language curbs our appetite. It’s like we have a veritable buffet of Scripture options, and we take that for granted. It becomes a part of life for us, but it does not impart life. It becomes mundane. We have it. When we need it we can crack it open. We sing about it; we use it in worship services. We honor God’s Word with our lips, but our hearts are distracted.

When I hear stories like this one, I am reminded of how much His Word matters. And I pray that God will light the fire within me to value His Word like I should–that I might constantly find His word to be “the joy and rejoicing of my soul!”

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