January 1st

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

— John 3:16 (ESV)

I remember when I was your age, and had to memorize Bible verses. Every week there was a new verse to learn at home and then say at Sunday School. At the time, I hated having to repeat those verses over and over again. I felt like it was a waste of time, and didn’t get what the point was—not until a few years after I was done with school.

I was shopping with a friend, and we were in the food court eating French fries. I picked up a bag from a store and my friend said, “What is John 3:16?” I was shocked, because my friend did not know Jesus. I asked her where she had heard of John 3:16, and she laughed and said it was printed on the bottom of my bag! Sure enough, I flipped the bag over, and there it was. I could hear the verse in my mind, word for word, and told her it was one of the most important Bible verses ever written. I couldn’t believe what happened next: she actually asked me what the verse was! I recited it to her, and then told her about how Jesus came into my heart. 

I don’t know if my friend ever asked Jesus into her heart—all we can do is plant the seed—but I was sure glad that I had memorized that verse, and many more. I have needed them at many different times, and you will too.

Holly Van Schouwen