Bible in a cardboard box

Author: Jenny Baker

Photo: net_efekt

Bible in a cardboard box

During the Second World War my Grandfather was a prisoner of war captured in Singapore, and then marched up through Malaysia into Thailand.

He worked and died as part of the chain gang building the railway and the bridge over the river Kwai.

In that time he wrote a diary that miraculously was saved and sent to my Grandmother after the war was over. It is amazing record of facts, dates and his thoughts over a period of 15 months in captivity. 

Having read this very special family history, two things became apparent: first was his love for his wife and his girls and how much he longed to be with them.

The other striking thing was his faith in God.  

He was a committed Anglican, and I learnt he would often go to his Church service and then on to Mass as this was a way to feel close to his family who he knew would be attending many, many miles away.

The most remarkable part of reading his diary for me is that throughout it not one unkind word was said of his captors, in fact he made few complaints even in the grimmest of circumstances.

I believe this was done not through grit and determination, but through God’s grace.

It occurred to me later in my life that I have been very blessed to have this opportunity to get to know my Grandfather through his words and thoughts, and to be able to have a personal insight into his life and how he felt about others.

I discovered the depth of his love for his family and his faith and what he was willing to sacrifice for them.

This would not have been possible had I not read the pages of his book and got to know the man who I have received my heritage from.

Bible in a box

I was given my first ‘grown-up’ Bible when I made my Confirmation aged 11.

I was thrilled and, after skimming through it and reading possibly a couple of parables, I promptly put it on the shelf in my room where it stayed until I left home.

Then it went into a cardboard box and into my attic.

I couldn’t really see what difference reading my Bible would make to my everyday life. It never occurred to me that the words on the pages of this book could feed my faith and allow me to actually get to know God.

A few years ago, as an adult, I opened the Bible that I had been given as a child.

As I read the passages I realised that this was a familiar story of love, family, and sacrifice.

And through taking time to read this, I could, in the same way that I had got to know my Grandfather, get to know the God who inspired each word on the page. 

I discovered that by reading my Bible I could gain intimate knowledge of who God is and what he is longing for.

Each chapter reveals what He looks like and what he wants to tell me. It builds a picture of the God of eternity who wants to speak to me through the words of my battered old Bible.

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