Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Love Letters

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. - Rom. 15:4

There's not a gift, dinner or trip that will ever delight my wife as much as a hand-written card or letter from me to her.   Megan simply loves to see my words written with patience, honesty and vulnerability.   The letters seem to her to be such a pure and lasting expression of my love.  There is a permanence and thus, a deeper meaningfulness, to the written word that transcends much of our day to day chatter.  It means so much to her that I can't help but include a card or letter with nearly every gift on anniversaries, her birthdays and most Christmas' (Even on the rare occasion that the gift is a bust, the card is always a home run!).   And she keeps all of them!

Consequently one of her favorite things to do is re-read these old love letters from time to time.  In doing so she revisits her earliest emotions about me, her past hopes for our future and my descriptions of the circumstances and activities that made our "pre-child" lives together so special.

Conversely one of my least favorite things to do is look back at those same letters.   It's embarrassing to behold the young romantic that I used to be.   Desiring to read my 21-year-old former self wax poetic about love, commitment and his favorite songs is tantamount to a butterfly desiring to return to his caterpillar youth.   Thanks, just not interested.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. - Phil. 1:6
However, my past scribblings, endearing to Megan and slightly embarrassing to me, do serve as a reminder of the future hope we have in Christ.   Thank God my mind and heart have matured and continue to mature.  They reveal that being married has helped me to express myself as God shows me more clearly who I am in Him by His covenant grace as the years pass by.  They are evidence of the way God continues to transform my heart into the likeness of His Son day by day and year by year.  What's embarrassing might be the revelation that just like He had work to do then, He has work to do now!

Redeemer Presbyterian Preacher/Teacher Tim Keller held up a New York Times during one memorable sermon explaining how to most New Yorkers it, not The Bible, is the beacon of truth.  A truth so sturdy that most cling to it more dearly than any religious book waking in the morning first to read it and get dialed in to what's happening in the world of politics, news, sports etc...

He went on to explain that studies have concluded that up to 80% of what was contained in said newspaper would be proved false in only 100 years.   For instance in the field of medicine - isn't it interesting how what once was considered bad for us is now recommended by doctors?   There are new findings all the time that are disproving what once were the "new findings".   The medicine we take one year is found to have tremendously dangerous side-effects in the years to come rendering it's reward not worth it's risk.  Science is, in the end, ever-evolving theories based on new evidence and increasingly sophisticated technology.

In sports for instance consider the game of Baseball.  How shocked were folks to find that The 1919  Chicago White Sox, re-named The Black Sox, threw the World Series.  How about Pete Roses' gambling on the very games he played not to mention the rampant steroid use in the 90's?  All of these scandals in a way falsify what were the games' outcomes because the variables most thought were in place giving them a sense of "realness" were being manipulated all along.  The sports pages turned out to be, in a way, false.

Political newspapers, blogs and magazines  are filled with only slivers of the full truth about back room negotiations between elected officials that compromise in one area in order to gain traction in another.   To be sure the news we read is often only a reporters subjective interpretation of the facts or the tiny fraction of the real story that has been allowed to be known by people in "high places".  In short, confusion continues to run rampant even in the highest echelons of the written word.

Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD 
- Psalm 102:18

By contrast The Word of God never changes.  It has never been disapproved.   Through it God brings clarity where confusion exists and shines a light of hope into our darkest hours.  It is alive - breathing life into dead situations and relationships.  Though it was written by imperfect men, it was inspired and protected by a perfect God perfectly.  

Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. - Jer. 1:9

In considering The Bible's divinely-inspired completeness and perfection I was reminded of the sinister Salieri's apt description of Mozart's God-given musical inspiration in the 1984, Academy Award winning Best Picture, Amadeus.  

But they showed no corrections of any kind. Not one. He had simply written down music already finished in his head. Page after page of it as if he were just taking dictation. And music, finished as no music is ever finished. Displace one note and there would be diminishment. Displace one phrase and the structure would fall. 
- Salieri, Amadeus, 1984 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness - 2nd Timothy 3:16

In those early days of our courtship my ability (or lack-there-of) to express in letters who I really was and what Megan meant to me depended on my understanding of myself and my ability to make sense of my emotions at that time.    These letters are undoubtedly marred by my immaturity and humanity.  Yet in contrasting my limited understanding of myself and my imperfect love for Megan to God's understanding of Himself and His unchanging love for us all, it's easy to see that The Bible is an immeasurably more valuable, more perfect gift to us.   

Your word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path - Psalms 119:105

Megan treasures my words to her even in their imperfection but The Bible, "The Word made text", is God's perfect love letter to us that is indeed a treasure of inestimable value.   It is also eternally relevant and unlike the subjective nature of our every periodical The Bible clues us into God's objective, unchanging nature and truth.  Oh that our eyes would be open to that fact more regularly.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words shall never pass away – Matthew 24:35

The Bible is both THE perfectly intimate, imminent love letter and the most transcendent, all-encompassing Good News for all of humanity! 

Oh the lonely days are gone.  I'll be right home.  My baby she wrote me a letter.
Said she couldn't live without me no more!
- The Letter, Wayne Carson Thompson, 1967 The Box Tops


This Week 

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am Wednesday AM
   The Obedience Option - Chapter 3
   2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm)

* The Magills featuring The In-Laws & Out Laws @ Ben Wheeler's The Moore's Store Saturday Night @ 7pm - 13 and older show 

* The Magills @ Whitehouse First Baptist Church - 9 & 10:30 Services


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