I have this Bible. It was the first one I ever received as an adult, and it was the first one that I ever read consistently. I carried it with me for years, and it would come with me to every church service, Sunday school class and bible study.
The cover is scraped and cracked, and the pages are full of marks, notes and highlights. Sections are falling out or dog-eared, and I completely lost the last half of the map appendix when my young daughter ripped them out and tore them up. But I know where everything is. I can open it to the book I want without looking, and when I try to remember a particular verse I can visualize the side of the page and the color of the pen I used to underline it.
Last year my husband gave me a brand new Bible to replace my falling-apart one. It has a pretty leather cover, crisp white pages and colorful pictures. It has tabs with the book names on it so it’s easy to search. All the pages are securely glued in, and the maps are all there.
I love my new Bible, but there are days when I really need the comfort of my old one. Sometimes I need the comfort of my friend that I know and that knows me. The one I’m familiar with, the one where I can easily find the wisdom and counsel that I need without having to search.
There are times in my life when God has given me new things to work on, new paths to take and new people to walk with. It’s great to forge new relationships and break new trails. It’s exciting to start a new journey full of different experiences and expectations. Like that new Bible, I get to learn the truth about life in a different way, with different ways to look at things and different ways to understand the things God wants me to learn.
But sometimes I need to touch base with those tried and true people that have been with me from the beginning, who know my heart almost as well as God does. Sometimes I need to pour out my worries to someone who doesn’t need a back story since they lived that story with me.
I think God does that on purpose. He gives us these people in our lives that walk the path alongside us, that help us through situations or that we help through their own stuff. Then He gives us the opportunity to forge new relationships, to get to know new people or do new things that are unfamiliar – but we always have those old, comforting friends that we can contact for help. We can always turn to that mentor, that family member or that friend.
Eventually, as time passes, our new friends and places become comfortable and lived-in. They become places we can go for comfort or counsel. They merge into our lives, becoming more and more entangled with us.
Even though my new Bible is pretty and clean, it makes me happy every time I make a note in the margins, and I was positively thrilled when my one year old drew on the cover with a ballpoint pen.
My new friend is becoming part of my story.