“Thy Word have I hid in my heart,
that I might not sin against Thee.”
I know this verse well. I know it, as we say, by heart. I believe its words, and the power it implies. The power of His Word, in my heart. But unless I look it up, I have absolutely no idea where that verse is in Scripture. I just can't ever remember. I’m guessing Psalms. It has a sort of a Psalm-y quality to it. But the promise is mine, even though I haven’t memorized its location. But it comes to me sometimes, so I've done exactly what the verse says to do ~ hidden it in my heart. I’ve hidden a few other verses there too.
I’ve never had trouble sleeping in my life, but last year, for several months, I was awakened in the middle of the night, a couple of times a week, gripped with anxiety. Sometimes the topic was something like the fact that the Apple of my Eye didn't have a steady income and I was wondering what the future looked like. But then, there were also times like one night early December. I had stopped by to visit a friend of mine. She has a son about a year older than my Amazing Boy, and she generally passes clothes on to him when her son outgrows them. She had a bag for me that day, and I forgot to take it when I left. For over an hour, in the middle of the night, I couldn’t stop thinking about this catastrophe. Did my son have something to wear the next day? Yes. Do I have her phone number? Yes. Could I call her and make arrangements to pick them up? Yes. As a matter of fact, I already knew I was getting together with her one more time before Christmas. There was a myriad of solutions to this problem, but in the middle of the night, I have been somehow vulnerable to anxiety, no matter how illogical.
And then one day, I stumbled on a wonderful verse: Proverbs 3:24 It was a direct promise to me, and I claimed it, and hid it in my heart. Do you know what that verse says? Me neither. Something about “sleep” and “sweet”. But I have to look it up to be sure. Here: "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet."
Now, I can’t say it to you without looking at it first, but during that time, when I lay down in bed, I would mumble something incoherent to our all-knowing God, and I claimed that promise. He knew what I meant. It’s like when your little one says something to you, and everyone nearby is saying, “huh??” and you understood her exactly: “Yes, darling, that is a bird!” God knew what I meant, and that was enough. My sleep got much better once I hid that Word in my heart.
A couple of years ago, I tried to memorize a wonderful verse in 2nd Thessalonians. It was chapter 3, verses 3 and 5. "But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance." It spoke directly to me. But for some reason, I just couldn't seem to memorize the words in the right order. What jumped out at me, and the only thing I could remember from those verses was “protect… strengthen… God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” I latched onto those words, and prayed them back to Him. And without having a firm grasp of the wording, the heart of it was enough. And the knowledge that He has given me Christ’s perseverance ~ do you realize the depth of that promise?? The perseverance that Christ had! ~ tells me that I can persevere in difficult situations. He has already given me what I need.
Another of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:8. The verses that precede that verse ~ 6 and 7 ~ have to do with anxiety, so it’s a go-to verse in frightening times. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in all things, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Jesus Christ.” Beautiful. But anxiety can be recurring, so verse 8, gives us the remedy for keeping the worry away: Verse 8 says: “Think about Jesus.” But it says that using a whole lot more words: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable ~ if anything is excellent or praiseworthy ~ think about such things."
I love this verse, but for the life of me, I can’t seem to memorize it. I’ve memorized the fruits of the spirit. And Jacob’s 12 sons. But when I claim this verse, all those adjectives get mixed up in my head. “Those things that are noble, true, pure, liberty and justice for all…. Something…..” But the point of that passage is hidden in my heart.
Isaiah 26:3 says “He will keep in perfect peace, whose thoughts are stayed on Him.” That’s point of Philippians 4:8, too. Meditate on these things ~ keep your thoughts on Jesus ~ and the peace of God will be with you. That's the promise. And it's mine to claim, because it's in my heart, even if I can't get the words in my head correctly.
There are, of course, verses that God expects each of us to memorize. He has given us amazing brains, and if we can memorize phone numbers and what time that TV show is on, then we can also commit to memory His Word. But I am comforted to know that’s not mandatory. 2 Timothy 2:13 says “though we be faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” Though we be weak, and tired and forgetful, He will not renege on the promises He has made to those who love Him, who hide His Word in their heart. The Word of the Lord stands forever.
Oh, and by the way, the location of today's verse is
~ "I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in His Word I put my hope" ~