Monday, November 04, 2013

Love Letter


I think, if you have been a Christian long enough, you have come across one or two testimonies of people whose lives have been turned around because of a Gideon Bible placed in the drawer of the bedside cabinet in a hotel room or hospital ward.  On a recent holiday I discovered a Gideon Bible on a shelf in the caravan we were staying in.

Surprising though it might be, according to the gideons.org.uk website, many people in Britain have never seen a Bible. Many seem to have a picture in their heads of a man sitting in an attic writing the Bible. They have never read it and can’t imagine a time or a place when they might want to. Some presume, because of the kind of Christians they have met, straight laced, sombre and sour faced, that the Bible is something that takes away the joy of life.  It is all full of “Thou shalt not…”.

They don’t know that it is a love letter.

I know it’s a love letter and I have fallen in love with the author. I know Him and I know His words.  They tell me that I am the apple of His eye and my name is written on the palm of His hand.  They tell me that wonderfully and fearfully He made me. They tell me that as my shepherd, He carries me gently on His shoulders.

I am blessed to be someone who loves reading.  I have never felt reading the Bible to be a chore. I haven’t always understood what I have read, and it has prompted me to dig a little deeper, or a lot deeper.  Treasure doesn’t always lie on the surface.

I treasure His words. They are life to my spirit.

One very tired and weary day last week, I read these words from Isaiah.  I read them, not silently in my head, but out loud declaring each phrase and sentence, speaking faith to my heart.  I didn’t feel tired or weary when I got to the end.

Have you never heard?
    Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
    No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
 He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31)

The Gideons place Bibles or New Testaments in many places like
hotels and hospitals, prisons and care homes...and schools.

One school I know had a visit from the Gideons.  They handed out small New Testaments to the first year pupils.  In years past, pupils had collected their New Testaments and spent time flicking through it, looking up the verses for “If you are sad…” or “if you have lost a loved one”. The novelty value lasted for a while but, in the end, it was just another book and they didn’t really like reading. 

We live in a different world.  Today I found the ground in front of the school littered with the confetti of half a dozen New Testaments torn to bits.

A love letter shredded.

It’s enough to break your heart.

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