I was in junior high when I first experienced the power of Scripture; from that day on, I have never doubted that God's word is living and active. Here's what happened.
We finally arrived at Crown College in St. Bonifacius, Minnesota where we had driven 6 long hours crammed in a rickety, old church van. Four middle school girls climbed onto one skinny, twin-long college dorm room bed, settling in for the first night of our junior high retreat weekend. We chatted nervously and excitedly as we imagined the fun we were going to have over the next few days.
The four of us, three who knew each other and one new but quickly welcomed face, weren’t your average middle school girls. We were seasoned believers, having grown up learning about Jesus. We enjoyed having deep conversations during our bible studies; our desire for understanding the word of God ran deep.
With our backs against the wall and legs converging in the center of the tiny bed, we spoke in whispers as we’d already been given the warning for lights out. Our soft chatter bobbed seamlessly from one topic to the next; we talked about cute boys on the trip, declared our hopes and excitements for the weekend, and then, somehow, made our way to scarier things in our world like the devil and his sneaky ways. Suddenly, the weight of fear descended on us like a heavy fog. None of us were strangers to fear, but this felt different. We pulled the blanket up over our knees, scooted a little closer to each other and became very aware of how dark it was in the room.
As we clung to each other, too spooked to get up and turn on another light, I unexpectedly recalled that one of our leaders challenged us to read Psalm 139 sometime during the weekend. Quickly, I said, “I don’t know why, but I think we should read Psalm 139 right now.”
Anxious to do anything to draw our attention away from fear, we scrambled for our Bibles and read the words of Psalm 139 out loud. “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” Taking turns, we came to verses 11-12 that say, “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (NIV)
After reading these verses we paused, looked at each other with wide eyes, and one of us said what we were all thinking – “You guys, I feel like the darkness we felt disappeared as soon as we read those words…” Completely astonished, we agreed that we weren't afraid anymore; our fear instantly dissipated.
For the first time in all of our lives, the Word of God jumped off the pages and came alive in our midst. It was hard to wrap our minds around the fact that not only had He given our retreat leader the inkling to tell us to read Psalm 139, but He also laid it on my heart in the exact moment that we needed to experience the truth of verses 11 and 12. We were meant to read those verses – through His word, the Lord spoke truth over our tiny college dorm room.
This experience in St. Bonifacius, Minnesota showed me that God’s word truly is living and active. It taught me that these aren’t just words on a page; they’re words that are able to impact us every time we read them.
Whenever I open my Bible, I want to read with expectancy and trust that He will speak. I want to remember that every letter, every syllable, every pause of punctuation in His word is God-breathed. Every single word has power.