When I was a little girl, I had a friend name Ramona. She was much more daring than I was, willing to say things and do things that I was too timid to try. She was so much fun, so I loved being in her presence. I lived vicarious through her mischievous actions which I thought were crazy but I secretly wished I had the nerve to do. Ramona didn’t go to my school or live in my neighborhood or even my state. She lived in Portland, Oregon with her parents and sister Beatrice who outright called her a pest! She was a character in a book but I could so relate to her! She felt like my friend that who was always with me as I started elementary school.
I love great stories. Reading has always been my passion ever since I was little. My mom and dad worked a lot, so books were a way to take me to places that I had never been. From Oz to Narnia, and even “Around the world in 80 days,” the adventures that I took through reading were amazing. The power of books touched me from the first words that I read.
My dad told me that there is nothing more powerful or important than a book. I understood the power of books to take me to different place but I was too young to understand the greater power was to present ideas beyond what is acceptable in a certain community or culture. Books have the power to bring knowledge and have no boundaries of time, location or socio-economic status. Throughout the ages, books have been banned for multitude of reasons but primarily to block people from educating themselves. Even today, many governments still limit the access to books. The bestselling book in world, the Bible, is still restricted in 52 countries including Afghanistan, Algeria, China, Iran, Libya, and North Korea.
Why is the Bible so dangerous? Although it is written by many men, it shows the power of God through the Word of God: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Tim. 3:16-17” It is God-breathed and written for us to grow closer to Him by learning the past, present and future plans He has for us. Bible is powerful and can bring redemption to nations so it is the most powerful book of all.
Even Mahatma Gandhi said, “You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilization to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature.” It is challenging for us to wrap our simple human brains around how much power the written word of the Bible contain.
God wrote the Bible as a love story to us. It is written from a father to child to teach us and love us. Pope Francis says of his Bible, “If you could see my Bible, you would not be particularly impressed. … Such an old, worn-out book! … It has been with me in my times of joy and times of tears. It is my most precious treasure. I live out of it, and I wouldn’t give anything in the world for it… Often I read a little and then put it away and contemplate the Lord. Not that I see the Lord, but he looks at me. He’s there. I let myself look at him…Sometimes he does not speak. I then feel nothing, only emptiness, emptiness, emptiness…. But I remain patiently, and so I wait, reading and praying. Sometimes I even fall asleep while praying. But it does not matter. I’m like a son with the father, and that is what’s important.”
The greater power was to present ideas beyond what is acceptable in a certain community or culture.
It is the greatest story ever told. Not just because old and new testaments are woven with stories rich with mighty conquests and defeats, vision and intrigue that rival the best written fiction novels. It is great because it is personal, intimate and alive.
And in the Bible, I also found a friend. Not as mischievous as Ramona, but a true friend who is always by my side. As I read the Bible, God has “hidden” notes to me that feel like he wrote just to me for what am facing that day. I believe God would have written the Bible just for me even if I was the only person on earth. Even though I know he wrote it for me, I am happy to share it with all of you.