Recently, I was asked to write about some specific Scripture passages that have been especially used by God in specific trials and circumstances I’ve found myself in. I rewound my memory a decade (more, sometimes) to recall some of these instances. God’s Word is a joy and a delight daily; but once in a while we find that His word is more than that-it is a necessity that suits our circumstances perfectly.
Four Scriptures That Have Changed My Life
1. Using the Bible to deal with relationships — Proverbs 23:6-8
I discovered the applicability of these verses just a few years ago. My friend, a friend I’d known for over a decade, a friend who had been there for me and encouraged, loved and served me when I was newly married and had just been diagnosed with a neurological disease, became distant and indifferent. I realized that we only went out for coffee together because I initiated it; and when we did go out, she was constantly checking her cell phone. I felt like nothing more than an inconvenient obligation, an unwelcome intrusion in her schedule. It was clear that her heart was not with me, just like the stingy man described in these verses.
My friend wasn’t stingy with her money; she was stingy with her time. After much reflection and prayer, I decided to . . . do nothing. Would we ever get together without my initiating something? I used that time to invest my time and energy into people who wanted my time and energy. It was well over a year before my friend suggested we go out for coffee. So we went out for coffee. It was clear that she was wholly unaware of the time that had passed.
We had a nice visit, as if no time had passed and nothing was odd. For my friend, there was no elephant in the room; it was only me that thought it strange that two friends who are so alike and live so close to each other would spend so little time together. Reflecting on the matter, I see we have different definitions of friendship. I like to see a friend once a month or so, and she is unfazed if she doesn’t see a friend for a year. These verses from Proverbs taught me to wait on God and to wait for Him to send me a friend whose heart will be with me.
2. Using the Bible to deal with homosexual friends and family –1 Corinthians 6:9-13
It was 2001. I had recently gotten married and was working at the public library. I was settling into my new role as wife and part-time worker. I loved my job and made some close friends there. The closest friend was Julie. Julie didn’t know Jesus, but we had tons of fun together at work. We also spent a lot of time together outside of work. She knew my husband well, and I knew her mother. She was like a sister to me. We talked about everything –faith, family, work, singleness and marriage, previous jobs, friendships…no subject was off limits.
I was fascinated by Julie, and overwhelmed by her kindness and fun personality. Soon, Arlene started working at the library. Arlene went to a local church and claimed to know Jesus. When we both had to work on Sundays, we would get together early in the day to go out for coffee and study the Bible. We did a study on the Sermon on the Mount.
It was such a frustrating friendship. I tried to help Arlene grow in her love for Jesus and her desire to know His Word, but nothing I said had any affect on her. She seemed to evade every question I asked, and she just didn’t seem interested in the Bible, even though she said she was a Christian. I did do one thing for Arlene — I introduced her to Julie. Arlene was so excited to see how much fun Julie and I had, and before long, the three of us were practically inseparable.
Soon, Arlene and Julie had formed a special friendship, one with just the two of them. Together, they both started becoming flaky and unreliable at work. It wasn’t long before they decided to get an apartment together. One night, they asked me to go out for coffee with them after work. I knew something was fishy when Julie, who loved talking with my husband and shared a passion for music with him, hemmed and hawed when I said I’d invited him to join us.
The four of us went out for coffee. Arlene got into a lengthy conversation with my husband about audio-visual equipment, which left Julie and I free to talk together. That was when Julie told me that she and Arlene were lovers. I didn’t know much about homosexuality then, but I knew my friendship with Arlene would be most affected, as there is a huge discrepancy when someone who claims to love Jesus is involved in a homosexual relationship.
I began to study and pray about 1 Corinthians 6:9-13 every chance I got. I repented of getting so caught up in the fun friendship I had with Julie and forsaking fellowship with Christians because of it. That was a real learning experience, committing to seek and prioritize fellowship with Christians. I also committed myself to use more discernment in choosing my friends.
I especially saw how my friendship with Arlene would have to change. She didn’t need discipleship or growth, she needed to know Jesus. I can see now that God used that time to test my faith and rescue me from the flames. I give Him honor, praise and glory for showing me the path of righteousness and for putting in my heart the desire to follow Him.
3. Using the Bible to deal with cultural tension — Psalm 111
Like many Christians, I went to church with a heaviness in my heart on the last Sunday of June. The Supreme Court had passed a law endorsing gay marriage in all states. The Scripture reading that morning was Psalm 111, which begins, “Hallelujah! I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart, in the company of the upright and in the congregation.”
Immediately, my mind played a slideshow from the bridal shower I had attended Saturday night. A godly young friend of mine will marry a man who is a missionary in Africa. At the shower, we all prayed for her and for her marriage. As I sat in church, remembering how I had prayed to God for my friend in the company of the upright, I looked around me and saw that I was doing that very thing again…giving thanks and praise to God in the congregation.
Verse 9 says, “He has sent redemption to His people…“ As the pastor read that, my heart could only agree. Regardless of our laws and culture, “He has sent redemption to His people…He has sealed His covenant forever; holy and awesome is his name.”
4. Using the Bible to pray –1 Corinthians 10:12
Most recently, I have been praying for my brothers and sisters in America, that they would not fall, or compromise their faith in these uncertain times. However, this verse reminds me that I must also pray for my own faith, for I am not above falling; no one is. This is by far my shortest point, but it is the verse, more than any other, that is shaping my prayers right now, and reminding me that I can only stand firm by God’s grace.