Observations on Life, Faith, Media & Technology

Wonderful Words of Life

An American believer took a trip to the Soviet Union back in the 1980s and was allowed to bring four Russian language Bibles with him.  He gave away three of them, but toward the end of his visit, he still had one Bible left.  Visiting a state-approved Baptist Church in Moscow, he saw a young man who obviously possessed the joy of the Lord.  Shaking hands with the young man, he pressed the Bible into his hands in such as way as to avoid detection by the KGB agents watching over the church service that day.  When the young man realized what he had been given, he smiled broadly in thanks.

The man had no way of knowing how God had just used him.  The young man had a brother named Theodore who was a devout Christian, and who had just reported for his mandatory tour of duty with the Soviet army.  Theodore had written his brother begging him to find a way to get him a Bible. The young man shipped the Bible to Theodore hidden in a shoe box.  For the next few years, that Bible was hidden in the soldier’s boot and read each night, allowing him to grow in his walk with the Lord.

Years later after the fall of the former Soviet Union, Theodore came to the United States to study.  He shared his testimony at a small church one evening and told about his “miracle” Bible, holding up the tattered remains for the congregation to see.  After the service, the church’s pastor asked to see the Bible and found a name written in it.  Within a few days, he located the man who had given the Bible to Theodore’s brother years before in Moscow.  He called him and shared the remarkable story of what God did with that Bible.  A few weeks later, Theodore got to meet and thank the man whose faithfulness and generosity made it possible for him to grow in Christ even while serving in the Soviet Army.

Today, Theodore is a pastor who works to plant Russian-language churches in the United States and makes regular trips back to Russia to equip and encourage pastors there.  His life was forever changed because of a simple act of obedience and the transforming power of God’s Word.

God tells us that His word never returns void, but always accomplishes the purpose God has in mind for it. (Isaiah 55:11)  The story of Theodore is a powerful reminder of how God works through His Word to change lives.

When I got home, I counted how many Bibles I own.  There were 32 of them in my study, my office or by my bedside. Some of them, like my father’s Bible, have great sentimental value to me.  But none of them are as precious to me as Theodore’s was to him.  Sadly, I realized that I take the freedom to own a Bible, and the Bible itself for granted.  I tried to imagine what it would be like to only have one copy of the Bible, or having to hide it in my shoe so it would not be confiscated.  Then I imagined what it would be like to not have a copy of it at all.

Through the years, many have given their lives so that I could have the right to own the Bible and to read it for myself.  How dare I take that right for granted!

How about you?  Do you take your Bible for granted? Let’s resolve to read it, study it, live it, and hide it in our hearts with the same fervor and gratitude that Theodore did his one copy of the Bible.

Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  (Psalm 119:105)

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