You Can Call on Me Sister When You Need a Hand

John 20:29b Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

My parents live next door to a woman who has five children with a sixth soon to be delivered. Last Saturday her thirty-eight year old husband died of a massive stroke. A week ago she was waking up to life as she knew it. Shuttling kids here and there, wiping noses, cleaning up messes and praying her husband returns from work on time. Today no husband will return home. She has been thrust into a new normal - one she likely never imagined or perhaps never believed she could survive.

Today I read 1 John 1. This reading was different, however, because it came out of the fresh, new Bible I received from Scott for Christmas. I should be excited but my enthusiasm is dampened with dread. Every sermon note and inspiration I have collected for the last twenty years is written on the pages of that crumbling book. Everything I've experienced with Christ is now tucked away on a shelf.

When John drafted this first letter, Jesus had not walked on the earth for as many as sixty years. Every other apostle had been "shelved" to heaven taking his eyewitness account of the resurrected Christ with him. John alone could certify the voracity of the gospel accounts.

John, my Mom's neighbor and I all share this in common today - it is just us and Jesus. As I look over the precipice of a fresh Bible, I identify with how every new believer must feel. It is as every bit as intimidating for them to look at the blank pages of their new faith as it for Mom's friend to look into a life of raising six children without a husband.

John opens his epistle with the words, "that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands..." (Verse 1) John was the last apostle to be able to proclaim these words. For the rest of us, it's just us and Jesus. Only we haven't actually seen Him with our eyes or touched Him with our hands. In every church there are dozens of people who've never dented the spine of their Bible. They might be intimated. They might not know where to start or what to read. They could just need a friend to wrap their hand over theirs and open the book of Emmanuel - God with us - with them.

Jesus, today I cannot comfort my mom's neighbor but I can pray. No doubt within a few hundred feet of where I sit this very moment are people to want to read Your story but just don't know how to begin. Today as I commence on this fresh journey with You in my new Bible, may I reach out my hand and help even one person to finally dent the spine of Your life-giving book.

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