I remember back when I was in high school and college I would be well established in my routine, 8 or 9 weeks into a semester when I'd be walking to class and spot someone I'd never seen before. Once I noticed a girl because of the rich red color of her hair, or I'd notice a boy talking to the kid I was crushing on, or I'd catch a backpack that attracted my attention. It was usually something small that would awaken my eyes, one little detail about a person I'd never ever seen would resonate in my memory and then, as if by magic, I would see them everywhere. Amazing how it would happen, before class, after class, at lunch, in the girls room, in the parking lot, at Meijer, in the dorms, in my class, at Sage Student Union. Everywhere I went they would be there. Almost as if, simply knowing they existed made them a significant part of my world. Knowing they existed made them relevant to me.
In my walk with the Lord, I see him use this same technique with bible verses. I'll read a verse in my morning devotions, someone will mention the same verse in passing, I'll see it on an FB status, Sunday School will dissect it, then my bible study will reference it, and finally, I'll need it. Have you been there? That place where all of a sudden you realize you've been exposed to the same verse 5 times in under 3 weeks, or maybe 10 times in as many days.
I vividly remember the first time I realized that the Lord was speaking to me through a verse by doing this. The date was July 2006. We were sitting in our Young Adult Sunday School class, and for whatever reason our regular teacher wasn't there and in his place was an older man, a dear friend to my husband and I, the husband of my "church mom". He opened up his bible and said "Today, we are going to look at Philippians 4:4"
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Without hesitation I said "That's the 4th time I've seen or heard that verse this week!" This week, being either the week we found out my husband had cancer, or the next week when we found out he might not be able to have kids AND I was already pregnant, I can't remember which. Tom pulled his chair up (breaking the circle) close to me and said "That means the Lord is trying to teach you something, this is your verse. This lesson is for you."
When I look back at that trial I can feel this verse "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" This verse really does reflect how we tried to live through that time, how we feel about it even now looking back. I could go on, but this post isn't about that, if you want to read more about that go here.
Thanks to Toms words, I try to pay closer attention when I realize a verse has popped up more than once. I don't just pay attention to the verse either, I start to keep my eyes peeled or my nerves stand on end a little, waiting, watching, to see what it is the Lord is doing or about to do in my life, to which I will need the verse. Well, let me tell you, the last month has been a Romans 8:28 month. The verse has been everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. Somehow I'd read it three or four times, I'd seen it in my bible study book, on a friends blog, and then went to the PM service at church 3 Sunday's ago and Pastor was preaching on that verse. One verse.
(sidebar: Have I mentioned to you how much I love our pastor? He is a young guy but he is spiritually gifted with wisdom beyond his years, a passion for God's word that is contagious, and when he speaks from the pulpit the Lord uses him to speak directly to you. While his AM messages are poignant and good, his evening messages give him the opportunity to dig deeper into the passages and really pull stuff apart for us.)
I sat up straighter as I listened to him, knowing that somehow that lesson in particular was for me. This is a verse I love, I even have it at the bottom of the first post I linked to, I reference it often, I pray it when a friend is hurting, I recite it when I'm unsure. I enjoyed listening to my pastor dissect it and break it down, but on this night, there weren't any great revelations about the verse that I didn't already know.
Fast forward with me to Tuesday of that week. I was having a magnificent day, I'd written this post which I just loved because it was funny, held personal conviction, and spoke of truth. I glanced in at facebook and my friend ~Jes~ had "It's a Romans 8:28 day" on her status. I mulled on that, and honestly had to go find the verse (how easily our minds forget) and thought Oooooh that verse. again. Wow. I went and got myself a late lunch of Jimmy Johns then came back and saw a former youth group student whose status merely said "Romans 8:28."
That's the second time, in two hours I saw the verse as a status, and not the whole verse, just the address. So I went and looked it up again, mind you I have this verse memorized but for some reason, on this day I had to look at it, in black and white.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.Now, if I had been smart, I would have let that nugget fill me up. I would have remembered the goodness of God, and felt peace even amidst the smallest of tribulations. But I didn't.
To be continued...