When my sister Martha had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer, she found that one specific verse in the Bible both reassured her that she would be strong enough to endure it, and reminded her that she would not go through it alone. It isn't surprising that the verse is Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
When our home was destroyed in a fire 23 years ago, I turned to Jeremiah 29:11 again and again, to remind myself that God desires good for me and for all of God's children. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I clung to that hope when life seemed dark and out of control.
Some Christians would say that these were our "life verses"-scriptures that spoke to my sister's heart, and to mine, personally and profoundly.
Do you have a life verse? A piece of scripture that connects you intimately with God? It's likely that most Christians are drawn to specific Bible verses that speak deeply to them. But it may never have occurred to you to call them "life verses."
Some people view having a life verse as just a popular trend, like praying the Prayer of Jabez or wearing "What would Jesus do?" bracelets. Not that there's anything wrong with either! They're simply examples of Christian "things"that were popular for a while, and then gradually became less so.
The fact is, lots of people wouldn't identify a single verse of scripture as the one that speaks to them most. I would venture to say that most followers of Jesus have more than one. As our lives and our circumstances change, so do our spiritual needs.
I still turn to Jeremiah when I need to remember God's good plans for us. But there are also other verses that speak to me on an especially deep, spiritual level. One is Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." When I grow tired of the demands of my life-as I'm sure you do, as we all do-this verse reminds me to lean into Jesus for support.
But some of the verses that stay with me have nothing to do with difficulties in life. Some are simply beautiful language, like John 1:1-5, describing the mysteries of God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
The Bible is such a rich source of wisdom, comfort and inspiration. There are 31,173 verses in the Old and New Testaments! Any of a number of them may speak to your heart at one time or another. Some may stay with you all your life.
As I wrote this blog, I did some research and found lots of advice online about how to choose your life verse-or even your child's! Articles like:
· "20 Good Choices for Your Life Verse."
· "4 Cautions Before Choosing a Life Verse."
· "Finding Your Child's Life Verse."
And my favorite, "75 Plus Ideas for Choosing the Perfect LIFE VERSE."
My experience has been that I didn't have to go searching for a "perfect" verse that spoke to my heart. God led me to them at precisely the right times in my life, and I'm betting God has done the same for you.
There was some good advice online, though, like committing special verses to memory. (Trust me...if I can do it, so can you!) This has been especially useful to me when I have trouble falling asleep, which I often do. Repeating the familiar words in my mind often shoves aside whatever thoughts are zooming through my brain, keeping me awake. The words comfort me, and calm me down.
And, of course, being able to call up scripture from memory during times of stress can also be helpful for a troubled spirit.
Developing the practice of reading the Bible every day opens up opportunities for you to come across a verse that speaks to you on that particular day. As one person wrote online, "I don't have a life verse. Whatever I need from day to day, that's my day verse." I like that.
Whether you can identify what you would call a life verse really doesn't matter in the big picture. But one thing is true: If you read the Bible, it will speak to you and to your life. The book of Hebrews tells us, "The word of God is alive and active." It has been so through the centuries, and it will be so throughout the rest of eternity.
Thanks be to God!
Lou Ann Karabel