On the outside, it looked like one of millions of other Hotel Bibles placed by The Gideons. However, when Rodney Jones, a Gideon in Nashville opened it, he discovered this copy of God’s Word contained an extra message – one that would bring him and many others to tears.
It was a Saturday evening and Rodney was in his guest room at a hotel in Tennessee. He was preparing for a message he would be delivering as a guest speaker at a church service the next morning. He needed a Scripture and opened the nightstand drawer to retrieve the Gideon-placed Hotel Bible.
When he opened the Scripture, he discovered someone had written a note on the inside back cover. It read:
Dedicated to the memory of My Precious Son, Christopher, Age 4, who departed this life to be born in Heaven, April 20, 1992.
Dear Christopher, it’s hard to believe it’s been almost seven years since you died. It seems almost like a lifetime ago. I miss you still and know I always will. I will miss all the fun we would have had together and perhaps Cameron, your nephew, will fulfill some of those lost memories. You would like Cameron, He’s terrific, and you would be very proud of your sister Kim and Kevin. They have turned out so well. I know you know all about what’s going on, but it’s not the same as having you here. I will see you again one day and maybe then we can catch up on lost time. I still love you with all my heart and will never forget you.
Love, Dad 4/10/99.
As Rodney read the letter, tears began rolling down his cheeks. He kept the Bible, and immediately put in a request for a replacement copy for the room.
He began carrying that copy of God’s Word to churches where he visited to speak on behalf of The Gideons International. As he shared testimonies with congregations of lives changed after encountering a Scripture placed by The Gideons, he included the story of how he believed this copy of God’s Word provided comfort and peace to a father who lost a son.
One day, he was talking with a pastor of a church where he was planning to speak. He began telling the story of this Bible. After he read the letter penned by the dad, Rodney looked up to see an expression of amazement on the pastor’s face.
“I know who wrote that,” the pastor said. “He and his wife attend this church!”
That Sunday, Rodney stood up in the front of the church, knowing that the father who wrote the letter was sitting in the congregation.
As Rodney shared the story and read the father’s note, many in the congregation began to recognise the names and the events in the story. Afterwards, the pastor announced that this note was, in fact, written by the father in the congregation. By that time, most of the congregation were in tears.
At the conclusion of the church service, the father and his wife talked with Rodney, thanking him for sharing the story, and encouraging him to continue sharing the story in hope that others may find comfort from it as well.