This a.m. I put a new piece of adhesive tape on an old friend. Inside her cover is a note: “By 73-74 Student Council, North Davidson Jr. High.” This old Scofield version of the Bible has been a lifelong companion. Its leather binding has been long broken, taped with clear tape now a third time. Its pages are yellow with oils from my fingertips and its margin full of notes. Notes in pencil and multiple colored inks, whatever was available as I hurriedly captured new truth decades ago. Some now seem juvenile while others are even more challenging as I round third base!
I was only a year and a half old in the faith when my students noticed a new passion in my life. This end of the year gift was their way of rewarding my life for what little leadership I brought to their young endeavors.
Over the years, I kept this book on my classroom desk, hurriedly reading it each morning, before students arrived. I was somewhat surprised one year upon the class annual distribution, as it included a photo captured by a student while I sat reading “The Book.” My actual assignment that morning had been to sit just outside the boy’s restroom, monitoring for smoking or unacceptable commotion as students arrived from the buses.
Those were different days, and I must confess to some minor discretionary issues, but I was devoted to discovering at least as much about God as I had learned in my earlier studies of Biology and Physics! Not sure which had the most impact on my kids?
That may be why the Book of Daniel has always been a favorite. He was one of the young captives described as: “Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.” Dan. 1:4 (KJV).
This morning after finishing my read from Daniel, I gently placed a new piece of tape along the leather backing of this now somewhat antiquated version of scripture. I wondered if in fact I had yet lived into one of verses I found underlined: “but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” Dan. 11:32b (KJV).
Now almost 42 years into this journey, though my physical body is much like the cover of this old book, my heart is fresh each morning with the possibilities for life.
Interesting also was the verse that follows:
“And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.” (vs 33). Why would so much pain, of necessity it seems, befall the people of God?
An amazing Book, the answer is seen just two verses below: “And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” (35).
You see, our life on this earth is nothing compared to what we are being crafted for in the life to come!
Peter, one with whom I well identify, said it this way: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ,
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” I Pet. 1:6-9 (KJV).
Paul informs us further as he declares that these present, “momentary sufferings,” cannot compare with what God has in store for those who love Him. (Rm 8:18, II Cor. 4:17 paraphrased). Suffering is the way we, and even the man Christ Jesus, learn obedience.
We are being crafted for another world, one Daniel foretold long before the “stone cut from the mountain without hands.” (Dan. 2:45a) As a means of credibility, he also named several generations of kings who would precede the Christ (the stone). He then goes a step further, wrapping up this great book of prophecy with a daring number assigned to the establishment of the New Heavens and New Earth that John the Revelator would see centuries later.
Something big is about to happen, and like the old woman at the church homecoming said to the young man returning his dinner plate, “keep you fork, dessert is coming!”
“Blessed is he that waiteth!” Dan. 12:12 (KJV)