Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Favorite Scripture: The Starting Point by Linden Malki

When longtime Calvary/Northpoint member Sue Bell was moving into a retirement community, she offered me one of the many Bibles from her bookshelf. It was obviously one that was a "go to meetin'" Bible, a good size to carry, and I found lots of margin notes from meetings, studies, sermons, that this Bible had been to. I found a note that said "Linden's favorite verse" at Hebrews 11:6,. which says "Without faith, it is impossible to please God, because must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those earnestly seek Him." This first jumped out at me in college, when I was working on an assigned paper on Romans and Hebrews. I saw it as the absolutely basic starting point in life. Some of us grew up with the reality of God as a given. Some of us struggle with the idea; some don't want to deal with it at all; some learn it in a dramatic way. I have noticed that there are people in my life who would tell you that they believe in God's existence, but you couldn't tell it from their conversation or life.

One thing that they have in common is worry--and there are folks that get on me for not worrying enough. One daughter's ex-mother-in-law ran into me at a Redlands Bowl concert a few years ago, and found out that I was parked in the Redlands Mall parking lot, about two blocks away. Somehow the thought of my walking alone at night in downtown Redlands (with hundreds of people around) for two whole blocks scared her so much that she told all sorts of people, including my daughter, how dangerous this was, for months on end. I was recently given a whole bunch of good advice by someone who surprised me by the total lack of any apparent acquaintence with the concept of the Providence of God. The idea that I believe that God not only exists, but is way smarter than I am, and I have been well taken care of, looks like total naive foolishness from the outside. On the other hand, the woman friend who lives at my place amazes me with her total dependence on the guidance of God in absolutely everything. I have learned a lot about prayer and listening to God by praying with her.

If we understand that God is real, and present in our lives, it makes a difference. We live in a world in which we cannot do what we really need to do on our own strength. And the rewards of seeking and finding Him range from the odd little things that work out better than we have any right to expect--(ask me about my flat tire stories sometime)--to the biggie of it all--the promise of an eternal reward that will be more amazing than we can possibly imagine.

Linden Malki

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