I *Finally* Found My Life Verse

Life Verse

When I was 22 I got introduced to a guy in his 50’s named Bob. Big Italian guy with a commanding presence and booming voice of a southern baptist preacher. He was also a terrific salesman and all around person. He mentored me for years.

Bob had this crazy and radical transformation from an early and deep darkness in a mafia life through a relationship with Christ where he RADICALLY changed. Too long a set of differences to list. If you’re cynical about the “radical transformation” stuff I get it, I really do. But, let me carry on…

One thing he deeply held onto was his “Life Verse” from Joel 2:25, from the Old Testament. One of the last times I met with Bob he shouted to me (which was really his way of talking) in a loving but impassioned voice with expressive Italian arms waving “RICHARD, you should have a Life Verse! It’ll give you direction and something to meditate on. What’s it going to be RICHARD? Think about it, and get back to me! THIS IS IMPORTANT, DO NOT DILLY DALLY!”

But I never did it. Too much time went by, and I let life get in the way.

One day I got a call that he’d suddenly passed. At his funeral I thought about my Life Verse, but shortly after forgot about it until two months ago, and after thinking I’d narrowed it down to three verses.

This week in Denver I was with my parents at dinner. They’re both amazing. My mom is so caring, considerate, patient, and kind; my dad is so smart, wise and disciplined.

We walked into this trendy Italian restaurant with music blaring overhead and my mom said to me “Your dad is not going to like this music one bit…” (thank God, literally, she didn’t know what song was playing!).

The gracious hostess overheard and changed the music, but even still when we all sat down my dad says something hilarious about “You Hipsters and your music.” (I resisted an explanation that Hipsters were dudes who wore skinny jeans rolled up with outlandish beards whereas I identified more with Hippies who have long hair and the prolific usage of the word ‘dude’).

Late into the evening my dad quoted this verse out of the Bible, which hit me squarely since it was the same verse I’d been thinking about as my Life Verse the past few months.

Over 30-years I’d heard my dad quote lots of verses, but never this one. (sidebar: Bob’s having a conniption in heaven shouting at me “RICHARD, C’MON JUST MAKE A DECISION HERE!”). 😉

After quoting it, my dad says “I think that’s Jeremiah 33…” and I quickly interject “29:11…It’s Jeremiah 29:11.”

At which point I knew it was my life verse.

One, because I’d been thinking about this and hearing him say it was confirmation. Two, because my dad is one of the most prolific students of scripture and never have I ever (and I mean EVER) corrected a reference with him in decades of discussions.

Plus, well, I love this verse for all its meaning and it speaks to me.

So, Bob, 15-years later, here it is. My Life Verse. Unfortunately I dilly dallied and got distracted along the way, but I finally got it done.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11:


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