Friday, December 31, 2010

The Love Letter

If you've ever been in love, you've no doubt exchanged mushy love letters with your beloved.  I remember the giddiness I felt opening those from my bride-to-be, or the joy that welled up inside me as I wrote her my replies.  Love letters are an outward expression of powerful emotions, heartfelt promises, and undashable hopes. While they may serve as weapons of harassment by curious parents or annoying little siblings, they really only carry a meaning for the two of you.  No one but you can find the little nuances of meanings between each hand-written line, or laugh at the cute inside jokes you two share.  Farrah and I recently rummaged through some of our old letters and cards, and I found myself reliving that same familiar giddiness.  How powerful is the written word, when you know it was penned by your beloved!

We were in a restaurant recently, when I overheard someone at another table recommend to another that they read the Book of John.  The young woman's reply was something like, "Yeah, I got a kids' Bible for my son and read it."  I don't usually eavesdrop, but this conversation got my attention for a couple reasons.  First of all, my soon-to-be-father-in-law, a pastor, asked me to read the Book of John, after I told his daughter that I wanted to know more about Jesus.  He told me that it's the most appropriate of the four Gospels for new converts to read.  Our own pastor recently echoed the same statement.  Second, I recognized my (old) self in the woman's attitude toward the Bible: that a (paraphrased) kids' version is equivalent to God's Word.  I was intently listening to see if I could pick up more, but to my disappointment, the conversation soon turned a corner and moved on.

As I thought about their short exchange, I started to realize something I hadn't thought of before: God's Word, embodied in the pages of the Bible, is His love letter to His Bride, which is the true church, the collection of all the born-again Christians who are saved by the blood that He shed on the cross for us.  And like other love letters, it holds no meaning or significance for those who have no relationship with Him, nor are seeking one.  "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18).

I was an atheist for the first two decades of my life.  When I was in high school, I unwittingly became involved with a Christian youth group (Young Life).  Though I made some fond memories while I was a part of it, I disliked all the Bible studies, Sunday schools, and homework I had to do.  I tried reading the Bible, but it was dry and pointless to me.  It did not speak to me, the words did not jump out at me, God did not reveal Himself to me at that time, because I was not yet ready.  Just as I would not expect my young son to receive love letters from the little girl who will one day become his wife (I trust and pray that she's out there, being raised by Godly parents, in the nurture of the Lord), God did not yet address His love letter to me.

So what's my point?  Here's the crux of the matter.  Telling someone just to go read the Bible (as I have often done myself) could fall on deaf ears, if we do not also stress that the goal is a personal relationship with its Author.  His words are meaningless, unless He draws us to Him and we seek to know Him and become His bride-to-be, His dearly beloved.


Tamela's Place said...

What a great post. The written Word has a way of hitting your heart to the core when you know the author is your beloved. I have often hoped tho as people who may not be born again pick up the word and read that they would eventually realize that the author truly loves them.

It's pretty funny it seems like a lot of times when i come to read your post you have used some of the same scriptures that i had used in my own post and have made mention of similar things. I will give glory to the Holy Spirit in that.


Wifey said...

Nice post, Honey. I've enjoyed our love letters, but the best is definitely the Bible. :-)

Warren Baldwin said...

Good closing point - the objective of reading the Word is to have a relationship with the Author. I am trying to start a small group study with some couples in the community that aren't Christians. I have a few couples I am talking to but no commitments yet. Thinking of using Mattthew, but I like your comments here about John. Good post.