On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” — John 20:19
I’ve been reading a good bit about some underground churches. Underground churches are simply groups of believers that have to meet in secret. They have no building, house, or any other consistent place of meeting because, if government officials catch them, they will be thrown into prison, or even executed.
One particular group in North Korea keeps the Bible that they have amongst their fishing gear. They go out in the boat as far as they can. Only then do they pull out the tattered copy of the Word of God. Fear strikes them when any other boat comes into sight. Is it the police? Will we be thrown into a prison camp for the next 15 years? These thoughts are consistently on their minds.
In one story, another boat does come up to them. “Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord,” he says. After breathing a sight of relief, this group of fishermen each receives a brand new Bible from the man in the boat. They hold it to their chests so tightly, close their eyes, and breathe praises to God.
Something in me just lights up when I read stuff like that. For a moment, I look at my Bible differently. I look on my shelf at the other dozen or so Bibles that I have . . . some that didn’t even get touched in 2018.
I did have a really cool moment recently. The very first Bible I was given was lost for about the past year or so. Right after I got saved, my best friend gave the Bible to me and had my name engraved on it (something absolutely zero underground churches would do). Even though it was about 5 years before I actually read it, when I did start reading it, it was the Bible that God used to change my heart so that I actually wanted to live for Jesus Christ. It is beaten up pretty badly, but my heart still lights up when I see it. In a season of fasting, I prayed, “Lord, please place that Bible back into my hands.” I just so happened to be looking for something in an inconspicuous place, I felt something, grabbed a hold of it, pulled it out . . . and there it was! For probably 20 seconds I held it to my chest tightly, closed my eyes, and breathed praises to God.
I got a taste, albeit a very small taste, of what these guys get to feel when they receive a copy of God’s Word.
Would to God that we would cherish, really cherish, His Word.