I got the broadest smile when I pulled our mail from the mailbox yesterday. Two pieces of junk mail and one very special letter. I knew we were to expect one because our youngest son asked for our address. He already had it, but his son’s teacher insisted all students get an address to bring to school for a letter-writing assignment. I held a treasured letter from our grandson.
Memories added value
There were several things about the letter that made it special and caused the big smile. One of my first responses was the memory it triggered. Receiving the letter took me back to when I was young and exchanging letters with my dad’s elderly aunt. I felt so special every time I received a letter from her in our mailbox addressed to me. It was amazing how little difference our age gap made in keeping up our correspondence.
An equal top reaction was seeing the bold lettering in third-grade penmanship, addressed to Grandpa and Grandma. I checked the rest of the envelope. He had printed his name and street name but left off the house number, town, state, and zip. He had also left the zip number off our address. The letter had been stamped September 8 and reached us ten days later, normally a two- and sometimes three-day delivery time.
That it got delivered added more value
A TV show my wife had liked to watch every week when it was being shown came to mind. Perhaps you are familiar with “Signed, Sealed, and Delivered.” The gist of the show plot is getting undeliverable (dead letters) delivered. The dead letter branch had four dedicated postal workers who used their investigative skills—almost always with the skimpiest clues—to make sure the piece of mail got to its intended recipient. For the letter to have taken ten days, I imagined it getting sidelined because of the missing information. But some post office worker noticed the handwriting and knew some grandparents needed to get that letter. He or she looked up the city’s zip code, printed the barcode on the envelope, and sent it on its way. We are so glad for it. I later noticed the postmark was stamped “Thinking of you.” How appropriate!
Treasured letters in the past
As often happens with me, my mind made connections to other memories and events. I remembered a box I had archived. In it are postcards and Christmas cards that had been sent to my great-grandmother from my great-great-grandfather and others. My grandmother had saved them, and I in turn rescued them from an old trunk. I realized the value people put on receiving a letter in the 1800s for them to have been kept. I wondered how many times my great-grandmother reread her treasured letters?
Moment by moment, memory by memory, my grandson’s letter increased in value. I’m hoping the writing assignment isn’t over or if it is, that he will continue to write us. Our next step—after having sent a reply—is to find a safe place to keep it.
The most important letter
Of course, my mind didn’t stop there. I realized how much more importance I placed on the handwritten notes I’ve just described and then how I valued the most important letter of all– the Bible. The Spirit of the Almighty moved on the hearts of men to record the thoughts and wisdom on His heart. Letters covering the first day of creation through his provision for reconciliation in His Son Jesus, all the way to the end of days with “Even so, come, Lord Jesus,” (Revelation 22:20 NKJV).
Every test, failure, or triumph we face in our lives has been spoken of and dealt with in this special letter. One would think that something as important as that would consume our free time—even move us to create free time—to read, reread, and absorb all He has to say. Yet, even though the Bible still holds the record for best-selling book every year, the Bible gathers dust on so many shelves.
Paul wrote in Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ ” Granting total reconciliation through His love poured out on Calvary, Jesus gave us the opportunity to enter into an intimate relationship with the letter’s author. We can correspond with Him in ways more intimate than what I did with my great aunt. Such an invitation should not be taken lightly.
See if this helps find treasure
Sometimes understanding the Bible can be a struggle. Here are three suggestions that may help:
1) Find a translation that is easy to read—or even listen to since it can be found on CDs, MP3s, and some web apps;
2) Find someone who can help guide you through troublesome passages;
3) Change the approach in reading it—treasure it as a personal, intimate letter.