We receive very few letters in the mail anymore. Many of us have shifted to communicating in short notes by email and phone conversations. When I open the mail box, I expect to be greeted by bills, circulars and newspapers. I remember when the envelopes in the mail box contained stories of my friend’s life. She’d send lovely long letters, written like a journal over several weeks. I looked forward to those letters and the news and laughter they carried.
Last year, another friend gave me a bundle of letters she found in a desk in the home of her uncle Wes, after he died. Addressed to lady friend, obviously at the beginning of a relationship, they express a hope for a life together that never happened. Even though Wes married someone else, he saved the letters. Maybe he wondered what life might have been like if he had pursued that road.
For me the Bible is a love letter from God. In passages like Isaiah 43:1-5, God says “I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you…” These are statements of commitment and love. Too often, we see the Bible only as a book of rules to be obeyed, or a story of judgment to be feared, or both. We set it aside to gather dust. We forget that first and foremost the Bible is God’s love letter to us. When we’re feeling hurting and alone, the Bible offers comfort and assurance. When we’ve lost our way, the Bible provides comfort. But like the letters in Wes’ desk, God’s Biblical letters can only speak of the promise of relationship. They’re only words on a page until we read them and accept God’s love.
“I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43: 1b)
For more reflections by Janet Stobie go to www.janetstobie.com