Guided tours; What memorable intervals in our lives they offer. Love ’em! I, along with my dear sweetheart of nearly fifty years, have been extremely blessed to have visited a number of marquee landmarks while being hosted by experienced travel guides They were wonderful! Please understand, I say that not to be braggadocios, but rather to express my sincere thanksgiving that we were so privileged while we were still able to travel. Looking back, I marvel at the myriad of sights and sounds and aromas and tastes we witnessed first hand. I still often find myself reliving those beautiful experiences. What a joy! I wouldn’t wish to have missed any one of them.
Even so, I still have a degree of remorse when thinking back to those ‘once in a lifetime’ vacations. As with seemingly all guided tours, many prove to be quite hurried, visiting as many well-known landmarks as one can cram into the allotted time. I must admit that I have often wondered what little hidden treasures we were missing while speeding along from one storied destination to another. I remember glancing out the windows wondering where some of those picturesque little back roads might have led. I could only imagine what little treasures may have been hidden behind that veil of trees.
Happily, there have been occasions when I have had the opportunity to revisit several places that we have missed during the rush of our earlier journeys. I jumped at the opportunities. My, how I have totally enjoyed exploring such areas on my time and tempo. I love to just sit down and soak in the beauty around me. Even in the hometown in which I have lived nearly all my life, I still enjoy exploring off the beaten track in search of little unforeseen treasures. And I am often unbelievably rewarded—amazed at my discoveries. Diamonds truly do come in small packages. Many times I have been so excited about some of my discoveries, I have fantasized about being a tour guide, pointing people to the wonderful hidden beauty of my hometown It’s during those precious hours that I get a true glimpse of the magnificent garden that God prepared just for us. It’s times like that I begin to realize that Almighty God provided millions and millions of hidden treasures if we will only take the time to search for them.. I am curiously reminded of the thrills we received during our childhood years while searching for those wonderful hidden treasures—colorful, tasty ‘Easter eggs’!
As strange as it may seem, the Holy Bible is much like that. Since I have been exposed to the basic Scriptures all my life, I would like to think I am reasonably familiar with most of the marquee passages. From the time I first began learning those simply illustrated Bible stories as a little tot to my present ‘golden years’ I have visited and revisited ‘favorite’ passages more times than I can count. They are often referred to as ‘sugar sticks’ and are absolutely beautiful. I never fail to marvel at God’s amazing grace. I never tire of hearing of God’s unfathomable love for me. I never tire of hearing of the day when we leave our mortal bodies behind and put on our immortal bodies—imperishable bodies which we will have for all eternity. My hope is increased each time I am reassured that I will never die—when I hear of that indescribable place He has provided for me after we leave this life. I would never, ever wish to have missed any one of those wonderful stories and lessons and sermons. I thank God for His ‘tour guides’ who have so faithfully led us through the uplifting truths of God’s Word.
That being said, I know there are hundreds and hundreds of little treasures tucked away in various obscure Scriptures often overlooked by the casual traveler. But we missed them. Unbelievably beautiful blessings lie along those roads less traveled, but in the rush of our lives, we missed them. We are so inclined to put it on cruise control and speed casually along from Sunday to Sunday, from one familiar landmark Scripture passage to the next without taking the time to search out wonderful hidden treasures found in the less traveled back roads of the Bible. Our lives could be so very much richer if we took the time to explore beyond the freeways and autobahns and busy seaports. It’s only during the times spent exploring the back roads and woodland trails of the Bible, the babbling brooks and hidden waterfalls, the scenic mountain overlooks and the peaceful valleys below, that we begin to discover the magnitude of “the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9)”
Even in our deeper studies we often stumble over one little ‘jot or tittle (Matthew 5:18)’, and rather than slow down and search out its meaning, we are inclined to pass over it and go to the next verse. But once we finally realize that every little ‘jot and tittle’ has deep meaning and significance “…and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV)”, we develop a desire to search the Scriptures more diligently. As we dig deeper into the Word, we must also become aware of the fact that our English language is not as complete and thorough as was the original languages of the Bible. Thus, we are often compelled to go back to the original Hebrew and/or Greek in order to get the true meaning of various words. Such searches invariably become real eye openers—often eliciting the ‘WOW’ factor! I’m reminded of the Scripture that ends with the phrase, “…He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6 KJV).”
On a more personal note, since the terminal illness of my dear soul mate has necessitated us to become basically limited to the confines of our home, I now have considerably more time to search the Scriptures. Happily, my curiosity has led me to explore passages I had never noticed before. I now have time to explore the unsearchable riches of God’s Word, and the rewards have been awesome. It is during those quiet, contemplative times that I can say with the Psalmist, “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure (Psalm 119:162 NKJV).”
And, my gregarious nature compels me to play the role of ‘tour guide’, and share such findings with other students of the Bible. Thus, my weekly blogs….