So this week we've noticed a new trend going around on Facebook. And everyone said, "Whaaaa? No way!" Yes, yes, it's true. Facebook has fads. Incontheivable. And we're actually not referring to the cold water challenge (ya'll are crazy).
The challenge in reference requires someone to share their favorite Bible verse and why it means so much to them. They then "call out" other people to do the same thing. This is actually a challenge we can get behind (sorry, I'm not getting hypothermia and a concussion from whacking my head off an iceberg).
So the post this week will actually be somewhat short as we both only have to choose one verse.
My verse actually wasn't at all difficult to pick out. Since I was about fourteen years old, this verse has rung a special chord with me, and I adopted it as my own. I'm not even sure how many times I read right over it without noticing the gorgeous images it held, but one day, it leaped right off the page, and I haven't let it go since.
Malachi 4:2 "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall."
Many translations word the latter portion of the verse to read, "And you will go out and frolic (some versions read "skip") about like calves released from the stall." Personally, I prefer those versions because of the image that comes to mind.
I have several reasons for loving this verse. First of all, " the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings." I mean...picture that! It makes me want to ride into battle! I get this powerful image of hope incarnate coming over the horizon at the last possible second.
Allow me to nerd out for a minute here. I'm a huge Lord of the Rings fan....oh, you already knew that? Anyways, a scene at the end of The Two Towers shows the haven of Helm's Deep being overrun by the forces of evil. The evil army is swarming the walls and hope is gone. Absolutely gone.
And then, the sun breaks over the hill. And the people doomed to die can see an army coming to their aid led by the white wizard on a white horse. And the evil army shakes in their boots and the audience cheers (I do, ok. Don't judge me.).
And that's what I picture: in the darkest moment, Jesus sweeping over the hilltop coming to the rescue. And the best part is He's there to heal all wounds. Not just current or recent wounds, but the scars and hurts that have built over the years. Every moment that left us bitter, or aching, or begging God to tell us why that moment ever had to happen. In that moment, Jesus comes sweeping in on His white horse, wraps us in His arms, and nothing else matters but His love and healing touch.
The second reason I love this verse so much is the second part of this verse. "And you will go out and frolic/skip about like calves released from the stall."
I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. And one of my favorite things to watch was when we released the young calves from their individual hutches so they were finally part of a young intermediately-aged herd. They went from having maybe fifteen square feet to move in and confined walls to a wide open space full of new smells, tastes, and friends. Without fail, the first few steps were always tentative. Hesitant. Exploratory. And after a few sniffs and quick glances around, the calf would suddenly explode! Leaping, kicking, running- the calf couldn't move fast enough or explore quickly enough. The wild, abandoned joy at being able to freely run was heart-warming.
But put in the context of this verse, I love that image. I love the picture of feeling wildly alive and child-like. And joyful. And innocent. I can't help but think this is exactly what we will be like at the return of Christ and our first tentative, wondering steps into heaven. The paradise He created for us.
This verse simultaneously provides strength, hope, and joy.
I am with Corinna. This wasn't difficult because I've had mine since I was thirteen. (Ha! Beat her by a year... we're not competitive at all.) I remember reading through the book of Philippians, and I kept coming back to this verse.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
At first it caught my attention, because the wording is confusing for a thirteen year old. When I finally understood it, I immediately adopted it.
"For to me to live is Christ..." For everything I do in my life to be for Christ. I know I am guilty of not living up to this first part of the verse. Because of my sin nature, not everything I have done has been for Christ But I claim it as my life verse because I will never outgrow it.
"...And to die is gain." That to me is unfathomably powerful. To die is gain. It is completely opposite of what the world tells us. The world pushes us to be pleasure seekers, materialistic, and money hungry while we are here on this earth. So death, according to the world, is the end. The finale. Doomsday. But according to the Bible, for us to live like Christ... well that makes death our gain. Our life here on this earth is a vapor. Heaven is eternal. What we have to ask ourselves is, "Will I live for the world or for heaven?"
Now I have a second reason why this my favorite verse.
I was talking to my mom one day and for some reason this verse came up. I told her, "That's my favorite verse." She looked at me, astonished, and said, "That was your Uncle Jodi's favorite verse too." I never personally knew my uncle, but I have heard a lot about him.
But I also don't believe in coincidences. I know God led me to that verse. My Uncle Jodi died right after high school. He had no plans for his future and he told his friends he loved being nineteen. He even had told my grandparents a couple weeks before how he wanted his funeral. God prepared him for his "gain."
I know I went on a rabbit trail, but Philippians 1:21. My life's verse.
So there you have it. Our favorite Bible verses. So here's our challenge to you! Join the challenge and nominate
three other people to join you! Or simply share with us your favorite verse and why it means so much to you. Go!
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