When I got to the airport the other day, I parked alongside dozens of other cars in new-fangled place, carved out of a former cargo lot. The cell-phone lot. Within a couple of minutes I realized that I should have brought my Kindle, because the wait was likely to be longer than I'd bargained for. I'm not easily bored, but not being bored usually involves keeping my mind occupied.
So I began scrounging around for something to write on--that is, the little notebook I carry in my purse for just that purpose. I'm a writer. When I can't put my hand on paper and pen, I feel lost indeed. So I always carry a notebook and not one but about a dozen pens. In fact, I can't imagine being at large in the world without either. Without my cell-phone? More often than not. Without writing tools? I'd have a panic attack. And in the car I most often drive, I keep a Bible in the glove box.
But I wasn't in that car Wednesday morning. And the only notebook I had was in serious danger of being too full to be much use to me. However, a notebook with only a couple of pages free is better than writing up my right arm, so I took what I could get and was happy about it.
And because I wasn't completely inspired by the gray, cheerless day outside my car's window, and because I felt more than a little anxious about what lay ahead for Thyrza with Grampie, I felt a rather serious need to marinate myself in the Word of God. So how does one do this when there is no Bible at hand? I sat for a moment, letting the tranquility of simply holding the pen poised over the page steal over me. It does, you know. The simple act of holding a pen even before a word is written, is enough to calm whatever nerves are just beneath the surface. There's an empty page, and there's that pen and sometimes, if I wait long enough, God will show up as that pen moves across the page. And I'm as blessed by that happening as anyone.
So I held the pen, almost prayed--if you know what I mean. Maybe you don't. Maybe you're more conscious of really speaking to Him every moment. But I'm not. Sometimes when I go to pray, it's more like I think about God than talk to Him. Sometimes this is wrong. Sometimes when I do this then go on my merry, daily way, and assume I've done my duty by Him, I'm so sorely mistaken, it's worse than if I hadn't thought of, or talked about, or read of, Him at all. Because it's all theology, or philosophically (which is even worse) or doctrinally, or something else. And has very little to do with being in relationship with the ONE who loves me most. Who waits for me to talk to Him. And who doesn't care a whit about such arguments. In fact, aren't they a bit like gossip, if you think about it?
But that day, it was more like listening, which is a whole different thing. A waiting thing. And that 'thinking' is really what He wants from me. I don't do it often enough. And maybe it's only the HOly Spirit that can do it at all, but Wednesday that was it.
And then it began. I wrote my own miniature Bible in the few pages of that notebook. I started with Genesis and wrote every reference I actually know by heart in the entire Bible. And it was telling. I know the Pentatuach better than the prophets (by about a country mile); John and Luke are my go-to gospels (without a doubt); Romans, 2 Corinthians, Ephesians and Philippians--these books I know by heart. But don't ask me about Zephaniah. Zechariah, Ezra. If I was shipwrecked tomorrow with only the pieces of scripture I carry right now, the gaps are wide. I lean toward the New Testament, of course. Most of us disciples of Jesus do. But all this writing out of these references--and even the large spaces (whole books whose titles are the only things I know!) between--made me again realize what God has done in giving us His living and active word. His Word. He gave us His word.
Think about that. He gave us His word, and when someone gives you their word, that's a big deal. Something to stand on. His word more than any word we've ever been given.
That's what He was after when I started listening in that cell-phone parking lot.
I was almost sorry when my cell-phone finally rang.