Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Treasure

I was just reading about how so many Christians in China who do not have a Bible of their own. There are nearly 100 million Christians in China now. Only 17 million go to churches that are registered under the government and therefore “government-censored”. But the remaining vast numbers are all thriving in underground home groups and each year about 4 million new believers are added to the number. It is amazing to read about all this.

Can you believe that about 30 to 50 million Christians in China still do not own a Bible of their own – not even a single copy of God’s Word? And because Bibles are still scarce in some places, it means so much to them to have a Bible of their own. I am ashamed that I do not treasure God’s living word as much as they do. I am sad that they are so desperate for it, yet there are never enough copies for everyone to savour every page.

My family has definitely more than five Bibles in my house. Do I treasure it enough? It occurs to me that I should study God’s word more than I study my maths book or anything else as a matter of fact. The problem with so many of us is that we’re always so occupied with a million other seemingly more “important” things that we miss the most important thing of all. How can that be? I am ashamed that although I know what the right thing to do is, I do not do it.

I remember that when I was around 11 years old, my mum would ask me nearly everyday in the morning to read aloud the word of God (I think it was the book of John) while everyone else went on with their work. My sisters would start their studies and I would be half mumbling, half reading aloud. I did not see any purpose in it; moreover, I did not understand what I was reading.

Then my dad also got us to memorize Scripture verses. I can honestly say that I nearly never understood what I was memorizing. Was it a waste of time, then? No, certainly not! Now I realize that it was all for a purpose. When the word of God is instilled in my mind, I cannot run from it. In the right moment, God can bring it to my memory and help me to understand. Then it will no longer only be in my mind, but will also travel to my heart. By God’s grace, I now see my mum’s wisdom in getting me to start my day by reading God’s word.

It occurs to me that I must memorize God’s word just as I memorize my music pieces. In order to truly play my piano pieces (until it flows out of me), I must memorize them. It requires repetition and practice for hours and hours. Sometimes I would go over the same 4 bars for an hour and continue the process for days. It takes boring repetition in order for me to finally be “enlightened” to see the hidden melodies that I failed to notice before.

Similarly, I now realize that “Wow, I need to do the same thing with the word of God!” I may not understand the words initially, but by meditating on it over and over, day after day, praying for God to grant me wisdom and understanding, I know that I will begin to uncover the hidden treasures. And just like how the music “flows” out spontaneously after I’ve memorized it thoroughly, God’s word will also flow out naturally and become alive in me when I hide it in my heart!

All this came to me when I was reading my Bible three nights ago. I quickly wrote it down in my notebook. I was flipping through some pages when I felt compelled to stop at a certain page. Then I saw this wonderful encouragement, like a response from God having seen all that has been running in my mind:

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4

Wow! I never noticed that verse before. It was Paul encouraging the Romans that the Scriptures were written for us to learn and meditate on. It is such instances of enlightenment from God that pure joy spurts out of me. God is so marvellous – He knows my every thought. He will confirm that His word is true and will not leave me wondering if I am on the wrong track. Truly, His word was written out so that humans could read it and discover God for themselves. And it is written for our learning, that we might have hope. =)

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