I have a dear friend who is a missionary to Tanzania, Africa. She and I correspond by email and through Facebook, but we also write letters. Yes, we utilize the good old-fashioned snail mail system. She told me once that she loves the idea of dropping her letter in the mailbox at her little village post office, knowing that in a few weeks it will arrive in my mailbox on my Midwestern country road, having crossed a couple of continents and an ocean. The whole idea seems impossible, magical somehow. Thanks to an efficient mailing system, not one of our letters has ever been lost.
Getting a letter from my friend is a gift. She and her husband operate many branches of their ministry–not just a church, but a boys’ home, Bible institute, elementary school, and more. They are a busy, visionary couple, so a letter from her is a gift of her time, a slice of her life. And when we write to each other, we get down to the nitty-gritty, discussing not the parts of our lives that everyone else can easily see, but what’s going on in our hearts: our worries about our kids, little annoyances of daily life, funny anecdotes, prayer requests. We try to encourage each other to keep on keeping on as wives, mothers, ministry leaders, and wearers of many other hats. Our letters are the real, unedited versions of our thoughts. With a handwritten letter, we can’t edit as we might in an email. We fill the page as the words come, and with our honesty comes a deep trust in each other. We know we’ve got each other’s backs.
Just as I look forward to a letter from my friend, so I should eagerly anticipate reading the Bible, every time I open it. After all, the Bible is God’s letter to us, in which he shares his love for us and his plans for us. He is completely honest, never glossing over the difficult bits (Cain’s act of murder, David’s adultery, Peter’s denial), but also comforting us with the miraculous (Enoch’s translation, Paul’s conversion, Jesus’ resurrection). In his Word, God makes himself and his people relatable. He shared everything we need in order to live our lives for him.
Perhaps as a Christian in America, I am too complacent about reading my Bible. I don’t always approach it with the joy and reverence I should, considering not only its source, but the sacrifices that Christians throughout history have made to translate, preserve, and protect it. Even today, Christianity is illegal in many countries, and a Bible is a hidden treasure in many Christian households.
I should read and re-read my Bible as I would a letter from my faraway friend, letting its words soak into my heart, that they might move me and comfort me and change me. I encourage you to do the same.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.–Psalm 119:105