The call came while we were out to dinner. My brother and sister in law were checking on our animals while we spent the day at Epcot with my parents. Our house had been ransacked. Destruction was everywhere. The culprit? Hemmingway. I asked my sister in law what was destroyed. She replied, “a book, the ottoman, part of the couch, a little bit of the stairs, a scarf, everything that was on your table, a pair of shoes”. I think she could hear the tension and panic in my voice as I asked, ” What about the Bible? There was a bible that was on the table. Was that destroyed?” There was a pause, and a hesitant, “Yes”. I handed the phone to Brad, ran to the bathroom, locked myself in a stall and sobbed. My bible, my prized possession, destroyed. When we finally got home I picked through the mess until I found my bible, held it in my hands and sobbed some more. I saved the portions that I could and put them in a box. And then I’m pretty sure that I cried myself to sleep.
I’ve had this habit, ever since I was 18, of giving my bibles away to people who either just gave the hearts to the Lord or are starting to seek Him more. I gave my first one away in Scotland, and I’d just recently given my last one to a girl I was mentoring at college. I bought this cheap, small pocket bible after I gave that one away, and I couldn’t really read it because the print was so tiny. I found it right before the Christmas of 2007 at a bookstore right before my shift at work. It was the prettiest bible I’d ever laid my eyes on. It was a beautiful plum color, with this intricate design in the center and a border around the edge. I fell in love with it instantly, but I couldn’t afford the $30 at the time. Because it was Christmas time what little money I had was going to bills and gifts. I put the bible back on the shelf and went to work. But, I couldn’t stop thinking about that bible. A few weeks later I had a customer who tipped me $40 on a $16 tab. I couldn’t believe my eyes….that was my bible! On Christmas Eve I drove to the bookstore and ran to the shelf, so nervous that my bible wouldn’t be there, but I had nothing to worry about…it was the first one I pulled off the shelf. I stood there, in the aisle of Books a Million, and this overwhelming knowledge that God saw me flooded my soul. I can describe that moment no other way. It was, and still is, one of the foundational moments of my life. I couldn’t stop crying. God saw me. He saw every time that I gave one of my bibles away. He saw it. And this time, this one was from Him.
That moment, and a few more amazing moments at Christmas, got me through the next season of my life. I was about to walk through one of the darkest, loneliest deserts I’d ever experienced. There would be many days when I would question the heart of God. I would question myself. I would question every relationship in my life. But never once did I question whether God saw me as I walked through it. That was the one shred of peace I had during that time. God saw me. His eyes were on me. I wasn’t curled into the fetal position in a corner by myself. He was there. I couldn’t feel Him, but he was there…and all I had to do was look at my bible to know that. That bible has tear stains in it from crying myself to sleep reading it at night. It had certain chapters and verses where the pages were almost worn through from me reading and re-reading them, clinging to anything that would get me through that season. It went everywhere with me, my book bag at school and my purse when I wasn’t at school. I am not exaggerating when I say that if my house was burning down, I would go back in to get that bible.
When it was destroyed, I didn’t know what to do. We bought my replacement bible, it was thick and black. I borderline hated it. Every time that I looked at it I was reminded that it wasn’t my bible. I know that you might be thinking, “Rebecca, it’s just a bible…pages between bonded leather. The important part is that it’s the Word of God. Not what it looks like.”. I know. And I completely agree with that statement in my head. But, my heart…with this particular bible..just couldn’t accept that. In all honesty, I really don’t put a whole lot of value into material things. Stuff is just that, stuff. But, for some reason, I just could never make peace with losing that bible. I’ve searched high and low for that same bible for two years now. Every time I go into a bookstore, I check to see if it’s there. I’ve asked store associates if they could order it. I’ve been to all the Christian bookstores in town. Nobody has it. To be completely honest with you, I’ve had a real hard time enjoying reading my replacement bible these past two years. More often than not, I find myself wiping dust off of it rather than reading it.
This whole past week I’ve had this gnawing thought in my mind that I needed to start the search again. If I couldn’t find my bible, then I was going to have to find one that I loved just as much. I just absolutely had to find another bible. I kinda dreaded asking Brad if we could start looking again. I’m going to Michigan. We’re not exactly rolling in the dough. But I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind. I planned a sneak attack. I would just ask to go to the bookstore, and then if I found a bible, I would ask for it. I saw some pretty bibles, but none of them jumped of the shelves at me, if you know what I mean. I asked Brad if we could go to the bookstore about 10 minutes down the road. I walked straight to the bible section and started my search. It was the second bible that I pulled off the shelf. I handed it to Brad and I don’t think either one of us could believe our eyes. We looked at each other and then the bible, then back at each other. It was my bible. Again, I started crying in the aisle of Books A Million. I couldn’t stop. I paid for the bible crying. I cried more in the parking lot. I cried on the ride home.
My bible was lost. And now it’s found.