`I MUST buy a new Bible soon!'' a friend of mine recently told her neighbor. ``My old one is nearly worn out!'' ``Worn out!'' the neighbor responded incredulously. ``How could that be? Why, I've had that one there on the bookshelf for thirty years and it's as good as new!'' My friend just smiled. She used her Bible faithfully every day. Thinking about it, she realized that her worn-out Bible stood as a symbol of the spiritual lessons she'd learned and the physical healings she'd had over many years. A feeling of richness and gratitude resounded in her heart.
What about your Bible? Is it wearing out? If it is, good for you! Of course, it's the pages I really mean--the paper, the binding, the page corners. The Bible itself will never wear out. The truths in the verses and stories on its pages are as eternal as the love of God Himself. The Bible is the vital story of our own lives today. It is a timeless, relevant book.
I know from the countless times it's been there for me. I remember having once planned for a career step over many years. I had worked long and hard to prepare for it. So when the company chose someone else for the position, I felt crushed. I had felt I was the obvious choice in terms of my experience.
Feeling quite depressed, I turned to my Bible. My attention fell on the experience two of Jesus' followers had as they walked to Emmaus--a story I had often read (no doubt contributing to the well-worn state of my Bible). These men had been saddened by Jesus' crucifixion. On the journey to Emmaus, Jesus himself joined them, but they didn't recognize him. As they walked, and later ate, together, however, Jesus talked about the scriptures to them. Then, Luke's Gospel records, ``their eyes were opened, and they knew him.'' Afterward they said to each other, ``Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?'' (24:31, 32)
Reading that story broke through my discouragement. I understood that God's love is always working in my life. This love was even at that moment preparing me for work I did not know of then. Christ Jesus' resurrection teaches us to love and trust what we can't see, not what is obvious to conventional thinking. In the years that followed, I grew into a very special work--a work that is vital to many, but for which only a few are prepared.
The Bible is God's Word to all of us. But the Bible's deep meaning can't really be gained by just reading it or by memorizing this verse or that. It must be worked at, studied, pored over, looked at lovingly again and again as we grow spiritually. It is worth our deepest thought. The reward is in what we find there. And that joy spills over into our lives, often resulting in great change.
Mary Baker Eddy loved the Bible from her childhood. It was as familiar to her as anything. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she has this to say of the importance of the Bible to her discovery of Christian Science: ``For three years after my discovery, I sought the solution of this problem of Mind-healing, searched the Scriptures and read little else, kept aloof from society, and devoted time and energies to discovering a positive rule.'' And on the next page she adds: ``In following these leadings of scientific revelation, the Bible was my only textbook'' (pp. 109-110).
This book--the Bible--is here for all of us. If we are to understand God's eternal healing message to man, we must turn to it frequently and earnestly. This is the way to wear out a Bible!