Strengthening Faith

I have a confession to make. I used to open my Bible only on Sundays. I tried reading through the Bible many times over the years but lost interest because I was reading it as merely a historical book instead of the living Word of God.

We were driving to Houston once again, a captive audience listening to sermons on our favorite Christian radio station.

Robert Jeffress preached first. “It’s important to read your Bible every day, preferably first thing in the morning before your day starts.”

Chuck Swindoll was next. “I suggest reading your Bible first thing in the morning before starting the day,” he said.

Then came David Jeremiah’s sermon. “The ideal time to read the Bible is first thing in the morning before your day starts.”

Finally, Charles Stanley came on. I’ll give you one guess what the sermon was about.

“Okay, God, I got the message!” I shouted. His voice may not have been audible, but His message came through loud and clear. I needed to deepen my knowledge and strengthen my spiritual walk to make it through the tough times ahead. I made a commitment to start reading the Bible every day. I didn’t allow myself to get on the computer until I’d read my Bible. It quickly became a habit.

There’s rarely been a morning since when I haven’t jumped out of bed, snuggled up in my chair in the living room with my Life Application Bible and pencil, and treasured spending time with God’s Word. What made the time more special was seeing Chris sitting in his chair at the kitchen table doing the same thing. It started our day off right.

My husband had been faithful to read his Bible daily for as long as I can remember. It’s sad to think it took a cancer diagnosis to get me to follow his example.

The book of Job reminded me that Christians were never promised an easy life. Even if my husband didn’t survive, God was in control, and it would be part of His plan. He would take care of me. I learned when in times of tribulation, don’t close your Bible—open it.

This is my actual Bible.

God’s precious promises in the book of Psalms were a great comfort to me during our crisis. I personalized them like Chris did. Whenever the Scriptures referred to evil, the enemy, the wicked, etc., I substituted the word “cancer.” When he developed new medical issues and it was hard to focus on the Bible, I defaulted to Psalms to remind me there’s hope.

However, doubts still slithered into my thoughts, gnawing at my belief that God would heal Chris, and it became challenging to concentrate on any Scripture at all. In the front and back covers of my Bible, I listed everything I was thankful to the Lord for providing over the years: family and friends, jobs, a roof over our heads, reliable vehicles, insurance, good medical teams, successful treatments, more time with Chris, church leadership and Christian mentors, our military, and our freedom—just to name a few. In dark hours filled with fear, I would read over the list and make a conscious effort to thank the Lord for all He had provided. It’s amazing the mental transformation that takes place when your heart exudes gratitude.

I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

—Psalm 34:4