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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Heritage


Psalm 118:28 Thou art my God, and I will praise Thee: Thou art my God, I will exalt Thee.

Yes, I know that’s quoted in old King James English. With good reason. It’s part of my inheritance. And if that means it sounds Shakespearean, then that will simply have to do. Why? Let me tell you the story.

Mom and I have spent the better part of two years sorting through a lifetime of papers. Dad’s lifetime. We’ve found snatches of keepers among the minutiae. Like the calendar page from the day I was born—with the scrawl: Julie came. The tickets from our first trip to Disney World. A tiny face shot clipped from an old photo id. (He couldn’t bear to shred a picture of me, no matter how unflattering.)

But yesterday morning, Mom came down to breakfast with a treasure in hand. A tiny, leather-bound New Testament and Psalms—pocket sized book. We read the inscription together—dated January 15, 1951—the week Dad accepted Uncle Sam’s invitation to basic training for the U.S. Army. It was inscribed from Dad’s Sunday school teacher, an elder of our old family church. “May God bless you and keep you.”

In itself that’s a nice gesture—probably one that was duplicated tens of thousands of times as men and women trudged off to the Korean conflict in those years. But from the state of the cover and the pages, this book obviously wasn’t tucked away in a duffle somewhere. It was handled; it was loved; it was read.

I spent the better part of the next hour flipping through it, page by page. As I did, I noticed checkmarks on every one. As he read each chapter, each Psalm, each verse, he checked it off. He read over the course of many days. Not a one-time thing, but a pattern of consistency. When one phrase or passage spoke to him, he circled it or starred it. Psalm 118:28 is one of those that must have been extra special—because he drew a bracket around it.

It didn’t take me long to realize that this Bible I’ve inherited isn’t just a dusty old book. It’s the testimony of a young life touched and changed by an up-close God. I have other Bibles of Daddy’s from later years—years when I knew him and can attest to the fact that he listened for God’s voice at every turn. But this is from his youth—his first time away from family and church, when he could have made any number of choices. This shows the choice he made—he chose Christ.

I love that this passage Daddy marked wasn’t a detached “He is God” statement. Even non-believers will one day have to acknowledge that fact. No. Daddy’s verse that got him through the unimaginable hours of challenging military maneuvers was up-close, heartfelt, personal.

·         Thou (You, the one I address right now)
·         art (no doubt about it—a surety)
·         my (not someone else’s faith, but the one that lives in this heart You gave me)
·         God (in charge—completely powerful and absolutely present).
·         So, I’ll praise (give honor) and
·         exalt (lift up)
·         Thee.

What a testimony! What a heritage. You are My God, and I will praise and exalt You. A great hand-me-down I’m proud to keep close to my heart today and always.


Julie-Allyson Ieron is the author of 37 books, including a Bible Study and Devotional combo titled Gentle Hugs for Grieving Hearts that releases this fall. http://womencareforagingparents.com


© 2015, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com