An Eternal Vision

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When I was eleven my best friend lived on the other side of the city. We didn’t get to see eachother much, but one weekend I stayed over.  On Sunday we went to church and I was shocked she didn’t want to pass notes back and forth. I mean, she wanted to listen! AND she had her Bible in her hands.

I really wasn’t that interested in listening, but I was intrigued with her Bible. It was the New Testament, and had a really cool picture of Jesus walking with two children on the hardcover. At the back was a great picture of David as a shepherd looking over his sheep at night with the words of the 23rd Psalm. I asked if she had actually read it. She said twice!

Well, I HAD to have one. I’d tried a few times to read the Bible but always got stuck on the begats. When I got home I gave Mom a detailed description and before I knew it, they had given me an exact copy! Dad had written my name and the date presented in calligraphy…beautiful. I started reading that night!

My motivation would have been wonderful if it wasn’t all about coveting and competing. Lynn had already read the whole thing twice!

What started as a competition quickly turned into devotion. I was hooked. It was written in the Living Translation — much easier reading than the King James. I began to read Jesus’ words, learned the first four books were the same story written by four different people, that was a good thing to know. But I loved reading the epistles best. The “how to’s” fed my desire to live right. It was good. It was great! Some of my best childhood memories are of reading that Bible.

Anyway…all that reminiscing to say…my favorite verses at that time:

For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. ~2 Cor. 4:17-18

Can you imagine the pain an eleven-year-old must have already endured to find those verses comforting?

Yeah…I’ve had an eternal perspective — An Eternal Vision — for a very long time. His promises are my hope. I believe it will get better, some day.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me.

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.

But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

~Jesus Christ, the Son of God

John 16:33

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37 responses »

  1. My first bible was a beloved Living as well. I treasured it and tore it up underlining and devouring the words. I also had a best friend that seemed to me to be more ‘spiritual’ that I felt I needed to compete with.

  2. That’s a great avatar, Angie! Whatever motivates, at least we got into the Word at an early age. That has been such a blessing for me! I still have my copy on the shelf, in a prominent position. 😉

  3. Hey Michelle,

    You know how those verses will have spoken to me at this time, so I won’t discuss that. I did want to say how wonderful you are to share so honestly. (“Can you imagine the pain an eleven-year-old must have already endured to find those verses comforting?”)

    I was also struck by “My motivation would have been wonderful if it wasn’t all about and coveting and competing.” I think it’s just amazing (and I’ve seen it in my own life many times) how God can use our weaknesses to make a way for us to find Him.

    Whoops – must dash – have to pick up Lochlainn from school! 🙂

  4. Hey, Alan! Thanks for your kind words.

    “I think it’s just amazing (and I’ve seen it in my own life many times) how God can use our weaknesses to make a way for us to find Him.”

    Me too! It reminds me of the Good Shepherd seeking the lost sheep. He’ll do anything to bring us to Him.

    Have a great evening with your guy! 😉

  5. Thanks Michelle. 🙂 I agree that the motivations might have been skewed but the accomplishment was words placed in us that did not return void.

  6. That was a very good piece of writing, Michelle. I could actually see a cute little redhead sitting in church, getting mad at her best friend because she didn’t want to pass notes back and forth. 😆

    And then to see that same little girl come home and tell her mother about the Bible her best friend had, describing it in exactly the same way. But actually getting the same kind of Bible…Man, you must have been ECSTATIC!!!

    And to see her revelation that “the four Gospels are the SAME story written by four different people!” I could see that little girl’s amazement!

    And it has such a happy ending: “What started as a competition turned into a devotion.”

    Excellent! Excellent!!!

    It’s amazing how God can turn even selfish desires into something extraordinairy, isn’t it? 😀

    And your little short story left us with a mystery, what Kent Nelson called, “Getting the story to go off the page,” which the best short story writers can always do:

    “Can you imagine the pain an eleven-year-old must have already endured to find those verses comforting?”

    The answer is, No. I can’t. You didn’t tell me and in this case, that’s good. Because I only know the pain I went through at 11, but I didn’t have a Bible to read to comfort me. Of course, I have one now! 😀

    Very good story, Michelle! 😉

  7. Thanks for sharing Michelle! how precious that you were reading the bible at 11. when I think of eternal perspective..I think…I am made for heaven, heaven is my home, and when things just don’t make sense here, I know they will there..LOL see how my mind wanders.. love you!

  8. That’s not a wandering mind, Darla. That’s FOCUS! Love you, hope your Monday was good. 😉

    Oh, and Nor, I’m very glad you have a Bible now and find comfort in His Word. 🙂

  9. i loved this story. like Nor, i could see it all in my minds eye.

    that was my first Bible too. i was 10 and i couldnt put it down. i was so intrigued. i wasnt a believer and no one in my family was, but for some reason they thought it necessary to get me a bible. it definitely left an imprint. yah, and God knew it would!

  10. I loved this story!! “Can I imagine …” Oh no, my dear. I can’t. But in my heart, I felt a piece of the sadness and pain … you are right. It will not last forever. Thank the Lord for that.

    And … my middle name is Lynn.

  11. Hey, Heidi! My motivations are usually so selfish. I hate that! But I do know He will work with me, and when it comes to His Word, it never returns void. Remember in the beginning of Philippians, when Paul talks about the motivation of some to preach the gospel was to harm him. But he didn’t care what their motivation, as long as the gospel was preached. I want to get there, you know?

    Good morning, Tam! That was your first Bible too?! How cool. Again, the Word does not return void. And when it pleased Him to reveal Himself to you, He did!

    “But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him…” ~Gal. 1:15-16

    Well, Anita Lynn Sparkle, so glad to make your acquaintance. All your names are beautiful — and the nickname is perfect!

    It won’t last forever which gives me much praise for Him. His plan is incomprehensible. How about this part:

    Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~Romans 5:3-5

    He’s even got a plan for the suffering. Everything is turned to hope when we know Him!

    I love you ladies. Thanks so much for commenting and making my day! 😉

  12. He has a plan for the suffering … praise God! It’s not an ‘oops’ on His part! Love you!

    Hey, you’ve got so many names for me … all I’ve got is ‘Michelle.’ Should I put my thinking cap on? 🙂

  13. Oh my gracious, Annie. Do I dare answer that question?

    Yeah,…OK…

    When I was young I was called Mike. (I hated it then, love it now!)

    In school it was Freckle Face Strawberry.

    At church camp (and college) it was Froggie. (Short for four-eyed freckled frog — perpetually hoarse voice — I prefer the shortened version.)

    At Mandy’s site it’s Red.

    At Tam’s site it’s ‘Chelle.

    At Nor and Gch’s it’s Sis.

    I don’t know…I think I’ll go by almost anything! Take your pick! 😉

    Oh…and Phat calls me Shorty. If I stretch I might hit five feet.

  14. I just wrote these similar words in my comments on my blog:

    The “little ones’ become “big ones” – how are we doing?

    Papa has a real burden for the kids, they need to get a great start!

  15. No way, you’re short too! I’m 5′ myself. A touch over (I like to stretch that out to 5’1″ you know). 🙂 haha!!!! Okay … well, I LOVE that you trusted me enough to post all your nicknames here on blogland. 🙂 A few of mine:

    Annie Bannanie (not hard to imagine)
    Tinkie (from toddler-hood … Mom would still bring this up … short for ‘stinker’ kinda)
    Ootie-toot (This is solely my uncle. He is the only one in God’s creation that calls me this … and I have no idea why. It originated before I can remember.)

    That’s all I can think of for right now.

    But for you …. I think I need to come up with something. Can I call you … Bella? Belle? Bellissima? 🙂 We’ll see if it sticks. My best friend’s name is Michelle, and her dad always called her ‘Michelle-my-belle.’ I don’t want to take that … but I can borrow the idea. And besides, it fits. 🙂

  16. Yes, Papa. I believe the earlier we plant the Word in a child’s heart, the better chance it will come to fruition. The rich soil that still has a chance for productivity. It’s on my heart too. Love you, Papa!

    Well, Alan… care to share?

    Whatever you come up with, Annie, I’m sure I’ll love. You’re just that nice! Are you really a shorty too? We must be long lost sisters…gotta be!

  17. Michelle and Annie long-lost sisters … I can see that. 🙂

    Have to dash to pick up Lochlainn again, but I’ll be back with some names later, including the reason why my old friend Mark has called me ‘sheep’ for the past 25 years …..

  18. OK! Going back to my days in primary school, I was ‘Burgers’ to my schoolmates, for complicated reasons to do with The Flintstones. ‘Box’ was my next nickname, for obscure reasons, in junior high school, then ‘Quince’ in senior high (after we studied A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Sheep came along in the eighties when I (ahem) had a perm. 🙂 These days I’m mostly Al or Al Pal, but I actually prefer Alan.

    And then there’s my beautiful friend Kristy who calls me King Al – how could I argue with that? 😉

    Well Mike and Bananie, I think I’ll head back to my blog and cook up a post to continue this. It’s been fun!

  19. I kinda like Sheep…King Al…but if you prefer Alan, I’ll stick with that.

    My hubs (Phat) had a perm in the 80’s! 😆

    Thanks for choosing Mike — I like that best! 🙂

  20. I think it’s nice to have different names for different circumstances, so do call me Sheep any time you want Michelle! You’ll probably see me throw in the occasional ‘Mike’ to you too. 🙂

    And I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop myself calling Annie Bananie….

  21. Hi Michelle
    When I read this the first thing I thought of to write was about my first bible. It was given to me after my mom died. Pink precious moment NIV bible that I still have. The back of the new testament fell out so I had to purchase a new one. But I kept it for a memory keepsake. The first bible is special. Very special in many ways.
    Love you!

  22. Alan, I agree. And I’m sure an Annie Bananie will slip from time to time. 😉

    Hey, Tracie! Hope you’re well. I think I mentioned up at the top of the comments, this particular New Testament has a prominent place on my bookshelf. It’s great to have keepsakes. ♥ U2!

  23. K, Michelle, how do you make the heart?? I’m trying to figure that out. I love all these nicknames. 🙂 I must admit, I do like King Al. 🙂 ‘Mike’ … can’t make it fit just now. Maybe I’ll have to meet you and then It’ll click. I’ll keep chewing on it. 🙂

  24. It’s easy:

    & hearts ;

    but no spaces.

    If you had seen me as a kid, Mike would fit. Most other kids thought I was a boy with my hair cut in a pixi and my raspy voice. Which is why I hated being called Mike then…I was a girly-girl! Just didn’t look like it…I always wanted long hair.

    Whatever works for ya, Sparkle! 😉

  25. It’s funny reading your little story made me think of when I got saved, interestingly enough it was because my bro had just accepted Christ and I wanted to…I can’t really remember it was either that I wanted to be like him or I wanted the attention he was getting *looks sheepish* God still accepted it though, thank goodness 🙂 Oh and traciejane my first Bible was a blue Precious Moments Bible, gotta love the pictures!

    And just so you know you all make me laugh 😀

    G

  26. Hey, Goth! I find it fascinating that we can have all the wrong motives, yet God still does a work in us. It really is all about His choosing and bringing us to Him.

    So, besides Gothiquefae, any other nicknames you care to share?

    Love you!

  27. Oh, I love those passages… I think they might be going on my wall of doodles to keep them at the forefront of my mind.

    You are so good for me 🙂

  28. As far as nicknames go I’ve got a few… 🙂
    My dad’s nickname for me is Punkin, my mom calls be Bitser from when I was a baby. I was colicky and apparently always very impatient so she would tell me “in a bit, in a bit.” Hence Bitser. My brother’s nickname for me is Annoying, no I’m kidding he just calls me lil’ sis.

    And then there’s my nickname from high-school: Killer. This one came about when I mock-threatened a guy (who could’ve bench-pressed me) with a plastic spoon. yes, a plastic spoon…might’ve been a fork…anyway after that everyone started calling me Killer. Including my family. 🙂 And that’s pretty much it.

    Love you too!

    G

  29. Ooooo…a plastic fork…DEADLY!!

    Thanks for sharing, Goth…I mean, Killer!

    (My brother has the same name for me — not lil’ sis — Annoying. He really has no room to talk!)

    😉

  30. My first Bible was a KingJames version I read it until the cover fell of and then I got a New American Standar and have used it ever sense. I still have that first Bible!!!

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