Keep on keeping on
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. — John 3:16 NKJV
I could have answered, “John 3:16” when an inquisitive twenty-something asked me my favorite Bible verse. After all, John 3:16 is the quintessential verse for Christians. Instead of a verse however, I answered character-defining God moments in the lives of those we read about in both the Old and the New Testament are my favorites.
One of these favorites is Nicodemus. Embedded in Nicodemus’s story is John 3:16. This verse is not canonical. In other words, it does not stand alone. Instead, this verse is embedded in the story of Nicodemus, which is a part of John’s gospel, which is a part of the New Testament, which one of sixty-six books that, taken liberally, is not finished writing itself.
I have been told that scholar Harold Beck, a professor long before my seminary years at Boston University, would tear off the back cover off a Bible at the end of each semester he taught a particular class. He’d say, “And this isn’t finished yet.”
Think about it. This love from Jesus who saves us to eternal life is far from finished. You are not finished. To the contrary, our stories are living documents of faith and fear, solid ground and shaky circumstances. We experience doubt, darkness, and dismay, yet when we, like Nicodemus, go to Jesus, our living stories reveal a God who continues to define and realign us when we seek His will and way, not our own.
God does so love the world. God so loves you in this world, this here, this now.
I’m not sure Beck would use this phraseology, but I think he’d agree that we should “keep on keeping on” so that our character-defining God moments point ourselves and others to our Father, who, through His Son, leads all who believe to everlasting life.
PRAYER: Holy Author, keep writing our stories with us. Amen.