Today, November 23rd, is International Day of Bible.  Most of the celebrated days, like International Muffin Day or National Coffee day, don’t move me to do anything different.  I mean, I love coffee, but I didn’t take time our of my schedule to have an extra cup, to marvel over the wonders of the coffee bean, or to share a post on my wall announcing my undying fidelity to this beverage.

But International Bible day is something else.  Now this a day I can get excited about!  You might think I’m crazy, and a number of years ago, I would have, too.  So let me explain.

When I was 18 years old, I was a mess.  I had single-handedly taken a life full of promise and opportunity and flushed it all.  I had made horrible decisions that I won’t go into detail about, but they are the kind that insecure, “looking for love in all the wrong places” kinds of girls make.  Every morning when I woke up, the realization that I was still me, that I couldn’t run away from who I was, haunted me, depressed me and was beginning to overwhelm me with hopelessness.  There was not one person on the planet that I had less respect for than the person in the mirror.

Then one night, I cried out to God.  I had been raised a Catholic and went to CCD all my childhood, but I never had a personal relationship with God. He was far away and didn’t make sense to me.  But on this night, I knew that in the coming year, I would either kill myself or be killed by my reckless actions.  So real or not, I had to try to reach out to God as a last resort.

All of a sudden, I saw a Bible that had been in my bedroom sitting on my shelf.  I really have no idea how it got there.  I opened it to the middle and found a little booklet inside that highlighted verses of the Bible to read if you needed encouragement or direction in certain areas.  My eyes immediately went to the heading, “If you are depressed”.

The verse that the pamphlet encouraged me to read was Psalm 51.  I won’t take the time to write out the whole psalm but here’s the high-level piece of information you need to know.  This Psalm was written by King David (of David and Goliath fame) after he had an affair with a woman and then had her husband killed.  Now when I read I that psalm that night, I didn’t know that backstory  But suffice it to say, when David wrote those words, his heart was heavy with regret and remorse, just like mine was that night.  He was overwhelmed and disgusted with his sin and wanted to be free, just like I did.

Have you ever gone into a Hallmark store and looked through the scores of cards on the shelves until you found the card that said exactly what you would had have said if you were that eloquent or funny?  Well, that’s what happened to me that night as I read Psalm 51.  David was eloquently expressing everything that was in my heart.  I cried from a place in my gut that I didn’t know I could access anymore as the cleansing love of God washed over me.  I felt like someone took a 500 pound backpack of bricks off my shoulders.  I literally felt lighter.  I was crying so hard that tears were bouncing off the pages of the Bible onto the chair I had it lying on.

And as I followed the pamphlet’s instruction on what to read next, I turned to Psalm 6.  Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.  The chair that I had the Bible lying on was one that I jokingly called, my Couch, as my friends would sit there and tell me all there problems and I would be their “psychiatrist”.   So on this night, I turned to Psalm 6 and read these words, “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears.  I drench my couch with my weeping.”

All of a sudden, at that moment, I was so aware that Jesus was near me.  I couldn’t look up or move.  He had announced His presence through the Bible, letting me know He was with me and seeing me right where I was at that moment.  The God who had seemed so impersonal and distant was in my bedroom, leading me through His Word, to freedom and cleansing because of His immense love for me.  I was aware in that moment that He had been waiting for me and that fact humbled me.  Why would this holy Savior notice me, pursue me, orchestrate a Bible and a pamphlet finding their way into my bedroom, and then walk me through His Word to complete forgiveness, freedom and joy?  Instead of finding a God who was angry and disappointed in me,  I found a Savior who loves me.

He loves me.  And He loves you. As I came to learn in the years following that night, the Bible says that Jesus is the Word.  That means that the Bible carries his anointing, his presence, and everything that he is.  It’s not just a book about people, places or things.  It’s Jesus.  My life changed that night because of the Bible and the presence of the Lord in the Word. And my life continues to change because the Bible is an infinite source of wisdom, deliverance, comfort and power.

If you’ve never read the Bible, I encourage you to try it – start by reading the book of John in the Message or the English Standard Version.  You can read the Bible for free by downloading the YouVersion Bible app on any device. youVersion Bible app

And if you already love the Bible, let’s celebrate the International Day of the Bible together!