Starting in 2010 and running into 2011, I had many months of ill-health (may write about that some other time…..), which culminated in me being off work for about 3 months. During this time, I was greatly blessed by having time to spend reading my Bible and just being with God. I journaled some of my thought and when I went back to work tried kept up my study. I have worked part time for years, fitting work around looking after my daughter and other family commitments. Up until last September I always had Fridays off and got into the habit of using my free day to spend an hour or more reading my Bible and writing a journal of sorts.
As part of this discipline, I started sharing verses with my house group family. At first these were typed out letter by letter on my old Nokia. Getting a smart phone meant I was able to get really clever and and copy verses over from my YouVersion Bible. I mentioned this habit to others in church and as they were interested I expanded my group and decided that it should be called “Tricia’s Random Bible Verses” or TRBV … The group of people to whom I regularly text verses now includes house group members, other church family, a gap year youth worker who was with us for a short while, and a couple of work colleagues. One or two of them regularly forward the verses onto several others.
I try to do it every day, but often don’t. If I have missed a few days it acts as a reminder to me that I have not been doing my Bible study and sends me to the Book. The verses may be from my daily readings (when I do them) or from YouVersion verse for the day or from a Twitter friend. Some days I am really stuck – like when I was reading Judges – difficult to friend uplifting material there – on those days I look through some of my favourite verses or just wait for “inspiration”. The idea that the verses are random has slowly been eroded by friends telling me that the verse that I sent on a particular day was “just the one that I needed to hear”. I always preface the verse with a greeting and sometimes a few words to explain my choice. On several occasions I have felt really sure that someone needed a particular verse, and have found out later who it was.
In February I heard something on UCB that really made me think and then shared this with my friends:
“This verse really grabbed my attention today:
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
Whatever storms we go through, Jesus can give us calm amidst them”
I also forwarded it to someone who was not on my list at the time. He was speaking to his sister on the phone at the time and shared it with her, and thought no more of it. The next day he was served with notice to attend court the following day. After years of prayer and trying to honour his marriage his wife is divorcing him and the proceedings had been rumbling on but the court appearance was completely unexpected….
More recently I shared the following with my friends:
“Some encouragement from Isaiah xx
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” ( Isaiah 41:10, 13 ESV)”
Two days later I was in the hospital with most of my family waiting whilst the medics treated my Dad for septicaemia. It was touch and go, we nearly lost him. I called on my group and church family for prayer – it was answered. Dad is still far from well, at 85 it will take time and God’s healing, but he is alive and I pray daily for his salvation. At the weekend I looked back on the verses sent out that week and realised that God had given me a really clear message through those words from Isaiah.
Slowly God has opened my eyes to the fact that he is using me to give words of encouragement, strength, peace to my good friends. I am humbled by this and give Him the glory.