A Jar of Hope
I’ve always loved quotes. Years ago, I decided to make a special gift for a loved one. I wrote out 365 thoughts about how my loved one, about love in general and about my feelings. I put them in a jar and presented it as a gift. It was warmly received—and getting the chance to know what the “daily quote” became something I looked forward to discussing. Over the last month, my heart has felt a few intense desires radiating from its center; the desire for companionship & friends, the desire for comfort and the desire to draw closer to God Himself. Drawing closer to God usually provides an extra measure of comfort, but I wanted to do something that would help me feel surrounded by friends as well. In the end, I decided to create a jar of Bible verses that I felt specifically called to me, verses that promised the very things my heart has most needed: comfort and reassurance and love.
I wanted 365 verses: enough for an entire year.
There were a few easy ways to go about getting these. I could have just purchased a daily devotional or something; there are oodles of them available, even in my church’s bookstore. But instead, I started asking people to send me their favorite comforting or inspiring Scriptures. Family, friends and pastors started sending them to me. I’ve received two cards in the mail with multiple verses written on them. I’ve received Facebook messages with verses. This has been an important part of the process so far for me. Deep in my heart, I am a conversationalist. I love communication! And the desire to feel surrounded by friends was a serious one. Having others contribute their favorite verses reminds me that God doesn’t only speak to me, He communicates through His word to EVERYONE. I started pouring over Scriptures. I went through and looked at any verse I have ever highlighted and wrote down the verses that spoke to me. I got online and looked up verses by topic. As of last night, I had written down references for 201 verses. Initially, I planned on waiting—I didn’t want the “year” to start until I had 365 verses. But the desires in my heart for comfort and to feel God close made me decide to go ahead and start pulling the verses out one by one.
Each time I pull a verse out, I plan to write a letter to God. I’m going to treat the verses like a conversation: they represent a promise from God to me and my letters are my response to the promise. I hope that this will strengthen my relationship with God even more, and my reliance on Him. It will help me process difficult and painful thoughts. Ultimately, I hope it will inspire me to lean even more in the hope that is the message of the Bible. The letters are likely to become very personal. That’s what God is—He’s a personal God; He wants a unique and individualized relationship with me. Sharing the letters on a public site, then, took some thought. I initially decided to post them as “Notes” on Facebook instead: I’d be sharing with friends, but it wouldn’t be available for perfect strangers. Honestly, I might end up doing that with some of the letters. But, in the end, strangers have been kind to me my whole life. They have been the light in the tunnel of darkness. They have bought books without ever meeting me. They have done everything from holding up a door to taking the trash to the curb. In other words, when I see a stranger, I see a friend.
God is capable of so much more than I. And maybe this is a time in my life where He wants to show me how one story can unite hundreds of people; maybe He has a plan I can’t even see hints of yet. Maybe it will inspire someone to find verses in the Bible that speak to her/him and, thereby, help strengthen a relationship with the Almighty God. I don’t know. All I know is that I’m compelled to sharing this process, to sharing the verses and my reactions to them.
I have posted a listing of all the verses on another page; mainly this is to keep me from putting repeat verses in the jar. They are organized by Bible book. And there is power in them. Power, promise, hope, comfort, friendship, love, discipline… everything you could ever need is contained within Scripture. I believe that so strongly I am ready to write a letter or note for a year in order to remind myself to lean on what He says instead of what I fear.
Thank you for reading and for taking the journey along with me!
What is your favorite verse?