“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.” ~Romans 8:28
I was lost in the moment. Sitting on top of Mt. Arbel while on a trip to Israel, I was incredibly aware of as how close we were to Jesus. There have been times before where I’ve been caught up in a moment of worship, or touched by something I heard or read… but nothing like this. We were overlooking a rugged terrain and had just learned that this place may have been the actual site of the feeding of the 5000. A herd of wild goats meandered up the side of the mountain and my camera was calling. Setting my Bible, notebook and water on the rocks I headed down the path… all the while wondering if Jesus had walked this path, sat on these rocks, felt the warm sun on His back. It was a beautiful place that that seemed frozen in time, untouched by the human hand.
As the sun set, it was time to head back to the tour bus. Walking back to where my Bible was, I saw it was no longer there. With only myself and one other woman left on the mountain someone must have grabbed it for me thinking I’d forgotten. Reaching the parking lot and asking if anyone had it I was met with a resounding “no”. As the park was closing, my chance to climb back up the mountain to look again was gone. My feelings surprised me. I was completely choked up and couldn’t imagine losing something that was incredibly dear to me. So much was written in that Bible- notes from conferences, dates and verses given to me during trials and times of unanswered prayers, all of my handwritten memories from a mission trip to Iraq. Being an avid note taker, nearly everything the Lord has taught me was written in that book. The film crew we were with promised they would look in the morning when they came back up to complete their work. There was a quiet little voice in my head saying “everything happens for a reason”. Knowing I could trust that as I have in the past, I thought about the good that could come out of it. Maybe someone else would find it and those notes would help lead them to Jesus? Wouldn’t it be amazing to meet someone in Heaven one day that told me it was because they found that Bible that they were even there?
The next morning the film crew searched, but no Bible was found. My roommate gave me a new notebook and I finished the trip without one.
Returning to the states a few days later I was not mentally prepared for the adjustment. On top of the time change and exhaustion, everything else was just as it had been left- and was waiting for me with no appreciation of the time I needed to process this trip. Early that Saturday morning a friend emailed and shared something interesting. She told me that God often spoke to her in dreams. A few months back she had a dream in which she was climbing a mountain. It was very steep and as she climbed higher she heard a voice telling her that the path she was about to take was not for her, she was to take another one. As she looked up path she saw me walking down the steep hill holding a mans hand. The face was blurry but she knew it was the Lord. After sharing the dream she sweetly reminded me that whatever was to happen in the future, I could face without fear because God would never leave me or forsake me.
Later than morning, without warning, I was overcome with emotion. Crying as the pieces of the puzzle came together I realized what God was trying to tell me. The past few years have been loaded with change and growth. Our move to North Carolina in June was a fresh start. Of what we didn’t know, but we knew God did and that’s all that mattered. Even with a fresh start though, I’d continued to struggle with past issues. So many things written in my Bible reminded me of this every morning. Notes of things learned, lessons taught. Although many were great reminders- I still struggled with many of those issues. It hit me then…seeing those reminders every day caused me to feel so much shame. I hadn’t fixed many of my problems yet, hadn’t been able to overcome certain struggles. Often instead of feeling uplifted during my quiet times I felt like a failure. Now that I no longer had that Bible, those “things” weren’t being flashed in front of my face daily. And the dream- I believe it was Gods way of telling me to start over, to start fresh in everything. Stop letting the past control me, and let Him protect me. I simply needed to worry about spending time with Him, in His word, not focusing on my notes and my failures.
Today as I open my new Bible, I’m able to look at it with fresh eyes seeing Gods word, not mine… It’s alive and active, it penetrates to the core. Did I ever think I would be thankful to lose something so precious? Of course not. But as He had a few weeks ago, God whispered to my heart again “ I told you, I can use all things for good.” Praise Jesus, He does.