I have always loved words and the power they can have. Growing up I was one of those kids who had to take at least three books on vacation because one was never enough. I spent endless hours with Grace Livingston Hill in the mountains of Tennessee. Tore through Erich Segal’s “Love Story” on my grandfather’s back porch. Not only did I love to read words, but write them as well – in time even writing for a local newspaper.
Fast forward and “life happens” and in one wildly unexpected outcome, I lost the ability to read a book. I’ve written about this before, but I just could not finish anything! I could still write, in fact the origin of these blogs can be traced to that season, but nothing I picked up kept my attention. Nothing. This went on for far too long.
In time (and my mother’s wisdom) I found a book I finished and thus began my slow recovery process. Eventually I picked up “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes and flew through that book. I laughed, I cried, I lived that story! It was incredible.
But it was short lived. More trudgery ensued and though I would finish books (and even a short series) in time, I didn’t have the same connection.
Until I discovered “Transcending Mysteries: Who Is God, and What Does He Want from Us?” by Andrew Greer and Ginny Owens. Wow how I love this book. It’s not really my typical genre, though I am not sure what genre I would classify it as: part exposition, part biography, part devotional, part music tribute. Regardless, I have laughed, I have cried, and I have lived these stories. I even sobbed through one entire chapter and thought, what would I give to have coffee with these two human beings. I mean, to meet Andrew and Ginny (as if I could even call them by their first names!) Oh what a dream. The words they’ve written on these pages! Additionally they’re both masterful songwriters with wonderful stories in lyric form. What would it truly be like to actually know the authors?
I was pondering this on the commute to work this morning. It’s only a 19 minute drive so it wasn’t a long ponderance, but alas, I was talking aloud to the air in my Pontiac G3 and this was my conversation:
“God, I am at loss. How can I connect so deeply with the characters and stories I read in books but have such a difficult time deeply connecting with You? I want to know and connect with the authors of these words I have known and read and loved through the years far more than I want to know and connect with you. How does this happen? What do I do?”
And had it been raining this morning, lightning would have struck in the silence that followed because as clear as I know without an audible sound I heard, “Read My words, I’m an Author too.”
These seven words came about halfway into my drive but instead of spending the remaining minutes in praise for words I knew to be straight from God alone, I started listing the excuses. “But God, you know I do. I read my Bible a few minutes every morning. I have my parallel Bible app open every Sunday so I can pour over the word variations between ESV and AMPC. I have read Your book cover to cover and even taken college level exams on it!”
By the time I had reminded God of all the things He had clearly forgotten, I was at work but as I sat at my desk I couldn’t shake the phrase, “Read My words.” As I went about my day I couldn’t get past the notion that God is the greatest author of all time and I can know Him, I can connect with Him, and yet more often than not, I choose not to.
Mercifully it was a quiet drive home, but as I sat down to dinner tonight with my laptop to type out these words I was once more reminded to “Read My words.” This 784 word story comes down to this challenge: Are you reading His words? Not in a superficial, checked-that-box-off-the-list, way but in a deep desire to fall in love with the stories and people in the book? In a way that you fall in love with the Author and desire to spend time with Him, to simply be in His presence? Are you reading His words in a way that makes you laugh, and cry, and live?
In truth, I haven’t been. But I sure want to.