Every now and then, knowing that I have a heart in the ministry and am a student of the Word, persons will come to me and say, "Quick! I need a Bible verse for ______." And often, my response is, "I'm sorry. There isn't one."
This surprises nearly everyone and offends most. Many begin to grumble, thinking I just don't want to help them. That it's personal or something.
And I don't mean to diminish in any way the Word of God. But I am deeply troubled by the way that we have come to use the Scriptures in our world, and I think it is severely to our detriment that we turn to them in this way.
For most persons today, just finding a good word in the Bible is enough. They immediately calm down, relax, and rest because "the Bible says it, so it must be true." In life's most tragic moments, give us nearly anything to hold onto, and we'll take it. We'll grab hold firmly until our knuckles are white and never let go, even when it doesn't seem to be playing out the way we thought it should.
But too many of us are living as white-knuckle Christians, holding onto whatever hope we can find. Plastering words on our mirrors and visors and bodies as reminders of hope. Tragically, however, we have lost sight of the Lord who spoke those words. And this is where I have issues with it.
Historically, the Scriptures have been used to point men back to God. They have been used to reveal the character, nature, and heart of the Lord. They have been used to remind us who God is, that we might take comfort in Him. No longer. Today, we're content with just the words. We're content with the written promise, and we no longer think about the Promiser. We hold onto these words of hope, but we have forgotten that hope is not a thing; Hope is a Person. Hope is God.
I've had the opportunity to sit in some dark places with many hurting persons. And what I've found in all of them is that the words are not enough. They're just not. What persons need, what we all need, is a real, powerful encounter with the living God. We don't need to know what God said; we need to know who God is.
And that's where I take this question that I so often get. Need a Bible verse for _______? Sorry. There isn't one.
But let me tell you what God has to say about that from His heart. Let me tell you about the One who hurts the same way that you're hurting right now. Let me tell you about the One who is grieving with you. Let me tell you not about a word that you can write on your mirror or your visor or your body, but about a Love that you can etch onto your very heart. That's what you need right now.
Not some white knuckled hope that you can hopelessly hold onto, but a real and living Hope that holds onto you.