My [child], attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings.
Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.
For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.
Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
~ Proverbs 4:20 – 23 [AmplifiedVersion]
Maybe it’s that I’ve been scoring third grade essays lately. Thinking in childlike terminology and seeing their world pure and simple…and sometimes even through eyes misunderstanding the question at hand. But this week, I seem to be finding God among words that are stored in my memory from child-focused stories.
Such as… the words I once heard Ma Ingalls say to a discouraged teen student in a scene that stays in my mind like an awesome painting. Painstakingly carving the alphabet letters she’d been teaching him, he handed them to her with his apology for deciding the prairie school could not work for him for many reasons. Turning his beautifully formed letters in her hands, she looked up through shining eyes at this boy who mistakenly felt he was too old – or dumb – to learn what the little kids teased him for not knowing…
“The alphabet has gotten into your heart and mind!” she startled him with jubilantly. “And now… you’re never going to get these letters out! You’re going to learn to read! For now you have the word keys inside you!”
Because…Something hidden in the heart is never lost.
Similarly, I’ve been replaying a tale my friend told me of her two little boys a few weeks ago over and over in my thoughts… because it too reminds me of this word from Proverbs. Pay attention to my words. Hold them close to your heart. And they will bring healing to your very bones!
A simple story that made us all chuckle, picturing the scene… Her two year old dancing around the nearly-five I’m more grown up than you brother, singing, “Do you know you are special, you are special…” And the elder’s just to be contrary answer of, “No, I’m NOT…”
“Where’d he hear that?” I laughed, imagining some Kermit the Frog or Caillou inspiration behind it. “Some TV program?”
“No… it’s from our old ‘Hide ’em In Your Heart’ bible tapes,” she explained.
The more I imagine that little voice cheerfully circling his brother with a light-filled word, the more it strikes me. How truth filled him with a song meant to spill over. He didn’t really know why… or that he was blessing his brother in that moment. Still… isn’t it one the Father is singing over us each, to plant a truth within our aching, longing, oh when will things ever be [fill in your own need] hearts? You are My beloved. My pearl of great price. You are so special in my heart.
And… connecting it with Ma Ingalls’ wondrous thought… I see why God wants us to hide His words in our hearts too. Because... once they are in there… no one and nothing will snatch them out! Because… the more of them we put in, the more room we make for the Holy Spirit to comfort and lead and speak into our circumstances and hearts — in the language of His Heart, His love letter to us — when we are crying out to hear Him. Or even when we are not.
And God brings to my remembrance now, how He’s whispered back words I didn’t even know were hidden there, in so many tremulous moments…
Like the time a dear friend called to tell me she had breast cancer. And a word almost immediately leaped into my heart like a whisper that fifteen later has proved true. This sickness is not unto death… I knew it was from the Bible, but I wasn’t sure where. Until many months later when I came upon it in John 11:4 (“When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”)
This week, praying for another friend, a similar word keeps coming to mind: Psalm 118:17, “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.” Right now, it is a word that plants a tree of hope into my prayers, inspires me to pray and believe boldly and audaciously like Abraham – who more than old and way past possibilities, still looked to God with unbelievably unwavering faith in the still to be seen promise……
There have been other times too… not just about healing… but in moments I’ve needed to know He was there. Hear a direction. And other words have popped unbidden to my thoughts. Unusual but joyful ones like, “I will put laughter in your mouth…” ( Job 8:21 “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” And Psalm 126:2, “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”) Or comforting ones like “I have loved you with an everlasting love…” (Jeremiah 31:3) or “Your battle belongs to me…” (2 Chronicles 20).
Thinking and remembering these things today… my heart leaps now to what David said so long ago… Your words o Lord, are like honeycomb… a light unto my path… and the promise Jesus gave to send us His Holy Spirit. Lord, plant your word inside me more and more, I pray, and hide them in my heart that I may know your voice in every one…and that I may pray and sing them out and over others as well, as blessing.
And maybe… each time we do, each time we hear and proclaim them out… He is like Ma Ingalls rejoicing and proclaiming to us. Now My Word is in you forever…
This weekend, has some word you have hidden in your heart from His Language of Love (the Bible) been skipping around the edges of your mind?
What do you hear Him whispering in it?
© Pam Depoyan