by Cynthia Ruchti
I stumbled over Jude today. It didn't bother Jude, but it rearranged me.
I can't remember the last time I opened my Bible and said, "Hey, Jude! I'll read the Book of Jude today." Yesterday, I completed another read-through of I, II, and III John. I underlined more than I didn't. So much encouragement and wisdom in those small books. The word "love" found its stride in those passages--defining both God's love and ours from every angle. There was no mistaking those three books' theme.
Next? Jude. Little more than one page. But an unforgettable page. Light that both warmed and illuminated.
Jude, brother of James, wrote the book "to those who are called, loved by God the Father and kept safe by Jesus Christ."
Called. Loved by God. Kept safe by Jesus Christ. If my goal were to read until I was moved, I could have stopped there.
All the heart's longings--as a human and as a writer--laser-focused in those short phrases: called, loved, kept safe.
How could worry shoe-horn itself between those words? What room could self-doubt find? Excessive waiting? What's the harm? I'm called, loved, and kept safe.
Several verses later, I stumbled over Jude again. Rearranged, again. Had I even known that one of the most heartening benedictions spoken for millennia capped the end of Jude's thoughts?
"To the one who is able to protect you from falling, and to present you blameless and rejoicing before his glorious presence, to the only God our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, belong glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, now and forevermore. Amen," Jude 24-25 CEB.
Protected from falling. Blameless. Rejoicing. His glorious presence.
My to-do list continued to mushroom as I lingered over the words from the Master Storyteller/Truthteller through His servant, Jude. But the list lost its power to threaten my joy. My concerns for friends and family members hadn't shrunk. But how could concern override what I'd read?
The novelist, speaker, struck mute and infused with irrepressible joy by one page.
No. By the One who inspired that single page. The One whom we writers invite to place His hands over ours, His heart over ours, so that someone somewhere might read words we wrote at His direction and be rearranged.
YOUR INPUT: When have you been stopped in your tracks by a single verse of Scripture?
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels, novellas, devotions, nonfiction, and speaking events for women and writers. Two of her books are recent recipients of Selah Awards. Her latest release explores the heart's deepest longings in the novel All My Belongings. www.cynthiaruchti.com