I love a good heist movie, in which, without firing a shot or even carrying a gun, thieves break into some supposedly impenetrable vault and get away with millions of dollars. It’s not that I celebrate grand larceny, but I do appreciate the genius behind the capers. In every case, the thieves successfully pocket a treasure that their mark thought could never be taken from them. These movies probably don’t have much value beyond mere entertainment, but they do teach at least one lesson: treasures are vulnerable. Almost anything we treasure—from people to possessions to abilities—can vanish in an instant. However, Scripture does teach us about a few precious treasures that no thief, con man, or devil can ever take away.
#1: Access to the Thone of Grace
Logging in to one particular online account is always a source of frustration for me. I use it rarely, so I nearly always forget my password, and then have to reset and change it. Because I can’t use a previously used password, I’m forced to modify one of my go-to options; then I forget how I modified it and inevitably land in the same situation the next time I need to log on. It’s a vicious and irritating cycle. (I know, I could write the password down, but I’d just forget where I put the sticky note.) This frustration will never hinder my prayers. “Access denied” are never words that we will never hear when attempting to enter the throne room of grace. No matter the circumstances around us, we will always be granted an audience with the King of Kings.
Hebrews 4:16 gives one of Scriptures most precious promises:
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:16)
Our enemy has tried to shut prayer out of nearly every public gathering. Prohibitions against proselytizing, having a Bible on the desk, or even uttering the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance have become the norm. However, Satan can never rob us of our access to the Father. As His sons and daughters, He will always admit us. Our prayers may not be flashy or poetic; they may not be verbose or particularly well thought-out, but He always hears.
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psa 34:17-18)
No law, regulation, statute, ruling, or ordinance can rob us of this treasure. While we often rob ourselves of this gift by allowing it to fall into disuse, no power of hell can snatch our access to the Almighty God from us. Our prayer closet may be a prison cell, an unemployment line, or bland work cubicle; but the ear of the Lord will never be deafened to the cry of His people.
#2: Scripture Stored in My Heart
Thanks to the development of apps like YouVersion and Dwell, most of us are never more than a swipe away from Scripture. I have often enjoyed the ability to access the Word on my phone when I didn’t have a hard copy of the Bible with me. These apps are wonderful tools, and our lives are better because of them. However, what if religious apps were to get “canceled”? Can you imagine a world in which no phone platform would support a Bible-based application? I can. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, and I’m not predicting that to happen; but the idea is conceivable. Just ask countries like China, North Korea, or Afghanistan.
While the Word of Scripture will endure forever (1 Pet. 1:24-25), we face moments regularly when we either don’t or can’t have the Bible (in paper or screen) open. As a stay-at-home mom, though my Bible is never far away, it’s not too often that I have a moment in the middle of my day to look up a verse on managing anger. I also coach a basketball team, and I don’t typically have the Bible open on the sideline of a game. It’s not illegal for me to have the Word at my fingertips, but it is sometimes impractical.
However, in those same situations, the Holy Spirit often uses His Word to pierce my conscience. And He does so using verses stored in the vault of my heart.
I know Scripture memory is not a popular topic. Like exercise, it’s something we all know we should do but usually vow to start doing later. It may also seem unattainable: “My kids can memorize anything, but I just can’t get things to stick like they used to.” However, if I asked you how to make chocolate chip cookies (or some other recipe that you’ve made a zillion times), you’d probably be able to rattle it off, with all of your modifications included. You didn’t set out to memorize it, but after looking at it and using it so many times, it just sort of stuck.
Maybe you need to tackle memorizing Scripture like you did that recipe. Don’t worry so much about the act of memorizing; just rehearse the same verse or passage over and over (and over and over) in your mind. Set it before your eyes by writing it on a sticky note and putting it in a prominent place or making it the background of your phone. Listen to it, read it out loud, make it part of your prayer life. It will become yours.
You might be a bit more ambitious and want to tackle large portions of Scripture. For that, you might try the Bible Memory app, which will help you keep track of what you’re memorizing and keep you on track to review it regularly. Or pick up a book on the topic, like His Word in My Heart by Janet Pope, or An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture by Andrew Davis. These, of course, are nothing more than tools, but sometimes having the right implements can make a difficult job doable.
Regardless of the reason you don’t have a Bible handy, Scripture stored in your heart is a treasure that can’t ever be taken away and is never impractical.
#3: The Hope of the Gospel
You don’t need me to tell you that the world has undergone massive and irreversible changes in the last 18 months. Just as America was never the same after the World Wars, the Great Depression, or 9/11, it will be forever changed by the coronavirus pandemic. Our desire to return to normalcy has mutated. We don’t even know what “normal” is anymore. Many events that occurred and came to a head in 2020 have left a heaviness on our country. The partisan divide is deeper than ever; optimism about the future of the government is low; foreign relations are jittery; and fear and anxiety are on the rise.
As believers, we can see the dividing line between truth and lies more clearly and feel the hostility more palpably than perhaps any other time in our country’s history. Because of this I wonder what kind of country my children will know as adults. Will they sing about God’s shedding His grace on America? Or will they know an America that has done its best to omit God entirely? Will they be free to attend church that preaches the Gospel? Or will they be the first generation forced underground for worship?
Questions like these can haunt us as parents and drive us to soul-paralyzing fear. But to allow paralysis to creep in would be to allow my hope to be robbed. I am thankful that God allowed me to be born in America, the greatest country in the world. That is His grace in my life. But even if this great nation does a nosedive, I still have hope.
The hope of the Gospel—of heaven, of everlasting life, of peace, joy, and love—don’t rise and fall with world events. No virus, riot, drought, or act of terrorism can steal this hope. It’s utterly unthievable. Hope found in anything else, however, can disappear as quickly as a breath on a frosty morning. We must anchor ourselves to Christ—our sure and steadfast hope that will never ever disappoint (Heb. 6:19).
The world is volatile and uncertain, but we can rest assured that no matter what happens, no one can rob us of the treasure of prayer, the Word abiding in our hearts, or the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.