Written By Gary Piper
For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you,’ says the Lord…’ 
The Bible is THE most powerful and compelling book ever written. Between its covers lies the “God Plan” for all of history. Between its covers lie the beginning and the end of time as we have come to know it.
More Bibles have been bought than any other book. Over the course of time it has been the focus of much controversy and many have tried to disprove it yet it still stands as an Ensign of all that mankind has been, is, and will be. An Ensign of all that God is, all that God can do, and all that God will do.
As powerful, compelling, and as much as it’s been read the Bible is one of the hardest books to understand. One of the reasons for the difficulty in understanding the Bible is not because it is draped in mystery or because of vast cultural differences but because it goes against the flow. For example the Bible tells us that when we are poor we can be rich and when we are rich we can be poor.
In our quest to live a victorious life we excitedly open our bibles and begin searching just the right story that will ease our fears, which will fill our emptiness, renew our spirits, and help us dream new dreams. Sometimes guided by the Holy Spirit we happen upon a particular scripture that becomes the words of God for us. Yet the circumstances of life do not support what the Holy Spirit is revealing. For example the bible tells of Jesus healing everywhere he went yet our family, friends, and even ourselves struggle with ill health at times.
“I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly,” the bible records Jesus saying. Yet we struggle with a running wild cost of living.
Do we slam it shut and put it somewhere where we won’t have to think about it?
Do we reject the scripture as an emotional escape created in our minds because that is what we wanted to know?
Do we accept it as God’s word and just wait for it to happen?
Do we begin to investigate it trying to discover how God is trying to make a difference in our lives?
For me it’s the last one. When the Holy Spirit speaks God’s word to us it’s an invitation to dig deeper into God and his message. When we our roots go deeper into God we not only to absorb the much needed spiritual nutrients but become empowered to endure when the winds of adversity blow upon us. Spiritual growth reduced to lowest terms is building a deeper awareness of God moving in and through our lives and a deeper relationship with him.
All of us are searching for a better life, for more peace, more hope we all need to dive deeper into the bible. Some have begun their journey down “Bible Lane” some have not. Meet a man who hasn’t but needs to. His name is New B. Lever. New B. Lever is 39 years old the father to two children is employed in what he refers to a dead end job journeying down a dead end street. The Levers own their own home, or at least are making an attempt. Like the majority of blue collar workers they live from paycheck to paycheck with zero dollars put aside for a rainy day.
One Sunday morning while channel surfing New B. Lever happened on a channel where a minister was saying, “If you believe in Jesus Christ and the Bible you’ll have all you need and never want for anything.”
It had been a week since he’d been fervently parachute praying (Lord bail me out prayers) the thought suddenly occurred to him that God was now ready to give him everything he’d been praying for.
“Margaret,” he called in a loud voice, “where’d you put that bible those bible thumpers gave us last year?”
“I have no idea, you’re the one who said we’d never use it!”
“Well I was wrong! It’s the only thing standing between us and being homeless. Got any ideas where I may have put it?”
“I can’t imagine you needing the bible,” Margaret replied from the laundry room, “check in the basement in that old locker you throw junk into.”
Several minutes later returning with the bible in his hand, “I found it! Margaret you’re a genius.”
“No I’m not I just know you!”
Seconds later New B. Lever dropped into his chair flipped some pages in the book and settled on page 919 and started reading at Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11. “For I know the what I have planned for you, says the Lord. I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you.” Suddenly it was as if the words were screaming at him and drawing him into what they were saying. After reading them quickly he began re-reading them a second time and found himself deep in conversation.
“For I know what I have planned for you, says the Lord,” the words spoke to his troubled mind.
“With all due respect Lord, what plans have you made for me? They must be plans of beating up on me because life sure has. Take my family for instance we’re struggling to make ends meet just like millions of other families. We’re facing an uncertain future because we are told the economy will not improve any time soon! Is that what you’ve planned for me? For my family? For our future? Does your plans include putting a roof over our head when we lose our home? Does your plans include watching Margaret’s dad suffer because he can’t afford his medication? Does your plans include finding Margaret a job so she can help out?”
New B. Lever paused as if waiting for God to answer him.
Several minutes later, “I didn’t think you’d have an answer for me. Now I know why I threw this bible in the basement. You know I tried reading it a long time ago but it’s not changed any it still tells me how much my life is really messed up. John and Sue are always telling me how after reading the bible they’ve been lifted out of their burdens. Not the ole New B. Lever family though. Sometimes I think because I’m not as good as they are your angels are saying, ‘hey look the New B. Lever family is in a hole let’s throw a little more dirt on him!’”
Pausing again, “I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you.”
Then deep inside something began stirring in New B. a feeling he’d never felt before it was as if his focus began changing from what had happened to what could happen. It was a strange feeling because up until that point his road into future was based on the road behind him. The words, “it don’t get any better than this,” spoken over and over by a co-worker had become so powerful unknowingly they had become a roadmap leading him into the future.
“God, I sure wish that was true! But what am I suppose to believe?”
Echoing again in his thoughts, “I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you.”
“You don’t know, Lord how much I want to believe you but the evidence just doesn’t add up. I remember from the days when my parents made me go to church of hearing that you can’t lie but what’s happening in my life does not match what I’m reading. So giving you the benefit of the doubt I think you must be referring to some later date but I need help now not later. Is there anyway you can hurry those plans up?”
A third time like a neon sign the words flashed off the page of his bible, “I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you.”
“Some day you’ll need God, New B.” his mothers words echoed from the past.
Instantly memories of the past began flooding, “if you ain’t got faith you ain’t got God,” he recalled hearing his father say each time they faced difficult situations.
“Dad,” he recalled saying, “all we’ve got is nothing. We’ve got a run down house, I wear second hand clothes.”
“But we got God.”
“You got God, dad I don’t! If living a second rate life is what comes with believing in God you can have him I want the best of everything and the day will come when I will have it all.”
Two weeks later his father past away, “Trenton Lever had faith and Trenton Lever had God and now that’s all that matters,” he recalled the minister saying at the funeral.
Pausing to wipe the tears from his eyes New B. Lever began pouring his heart out, “I am so sorry, father for letting you down so many times. I am so sorry, God for letting you down so many times. I need you God.”
His eyes fell back on the open bible and he continued reading, “to give you hope and a future”
All of a sudden as ghosts of the past forced there way into his mind New B. Lever found himself at war with himself. The news of his Tennessee friend just diagnosed with MS. The need for a new car. The cost of living increasing faster then his income. The difficulties facing his sons and daughters in law. The added stresses at work and church. All poured into his troubled mind at the same time. “I don’t need hope, God!” he shouted. “I need help, help for my family, help for my friends, help for myself, why can’t you understand that? Later may be too late.”
The living room fell silent.
For what seemed like hours the struggle continued. New B. Lever discovered that experience is not only a great ally but a very powerful enemy as well. However, a couple of minutes later, “I’m sorry God if hope is all you can give me that will do.”
Thinking he’d heard a voice talking to him he fixed his tear filled eyes back to Jeremiah, “When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you.”
“Apparently I don’t know how to pray, Lord because when I do all I find is emptiness and hopelessness. It must that I pray for the wrong things. Or is my life is so messed up you all you can is just listen?”
Looking again at his bible, “If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you.”
New B. Lever felt as if he were being lifted up, it was almost as if his past experiences had never happened. He found himself walking down a new unfamiliar road.
His voice broke the silence, “Where are you God?”
“Are you locked away deep in my intellect?”
“Are you locked away in my childhood years?”
“Are you locked away deep in my heart?”
“How can I worship you when you I can’t find you?”
“Are there people with greater needs then mine?”
“Are you waiting just over the horizon? Around the next corner? In my desert places?”
“Where are you God?” New B’s voice was getting frantic.
“New B are you all right?” Margaret’s voice startled him.
“I’m okay, why do you ask?”
“I thought I heard you talking to someone…” Stopping in mid sentence she realized he’d been crying.
“What’s wrong? Is it my dad? What’s wrong, New B I never seen you cry before!”
“Nothing is wrong, Margaret in fact everything is right,” he replied wiping his eyes. “Sit down for a minute or two.” Over the next hour New B. Lever rehearsed what had taken place since hearing the television minister.
Finally, New B. Lever paused looked his wife in the eyes “My dad always told me that when a person has faith they have God and if they have God they have all they need.”
Sounding both relieved and excited Margaret asked, “What do we do next?”
Picking up the bible, “we’re gonna use this book to discover God so we can begin rebuilding our lives on faith.”
“But we don’t know that much about the bible,” she replied, “and I’ve heard you can’t read it like a novel or something you read for entertainment you need to really study it.”
“John Freely is always pestering me about coming to his place Sunday evenings for bible study let’s go over there and try it out this evening. You know John don’t you?”
“I’ve only met him a couple of times but Rachel his wife and I were classmates in high school.”
“Really? You never told me that.”
“Oh yeah, we’ve run into each other several times at Kroger’s. Now that I think about it she, too has mentioned they do bible study at their house.”
“Okay, it’s a date then. We’ll have to leave a little early so we can buy you a bible too. This ones very special to me and I’ll not give it up.”
What you have just read happened only in my imagination. However, now that you’ve read it, it’s also a part of your imagination. And even though the story is not real God is. The bible is real with real life transforming stories. If you are a potential believer, a new believer, or a seasoned veteran the bible and the God that comes with it waits patiently for a deepening fellowship with you. Throughout it’s 66 individual books and hundreds of stories God has intricately weaved his autobiography for you to discover.
“When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you,” says the Lord…
 Jeremiah 29:11–14 NET Bible