Thursday, September 5, 2013

Love Letters

There were no cell phones when Cheri and I were dating in college.  In fact, our school had a rule against guys and girls calling each other in their dorm rooms.  They said it was because the switchboard couldn’t handle the volume of calls.  We just thought it was one more rule to try to keep us apart.  We were college students.  What did we know?

Since we couldn’t talk to each other by telephone, there was an intricate note system that was run by the men’s fraternities (they were actually called societies, but fraternity is a more familiar term).  Each dorm had a long wooden box divided into sections designated for each dorm for the opposite sex.  If you put a note in the box by 9:00 p.m. it would be delivered to the room of the addressee by 10:00.  If you missed the pickup time, it was too bad.  Your note would have to wait.

Cheri and I would spend as much time together as possible during our permissible social hours.  But alas, the time would come when we would have to go our separate ways.  Cheri was a good student and spent most of her evenings studying, so our social time usually ended with our walk to her dorm after dinner.  Men and women were not permitted in each other’s dorms, so we would say goodnight and part ways.

Every night I looked forward to getting a letter from Cheri.  Even though I had seen her just hours before, I couldn’t wait to get that letter addressed to me in her handwriting.  Sometimes she would put some of her perfume on the envelope.  She would start each letter with “My Dearest Joel” or “My Dearest Sweetheart” or some other special pet name that would just cause me to melt.  She would tell me how much she loved me, how much she enjoyed being with me that day, and write about whatever was on her mind.  I wrote letters to her every night as well, telling her how special she was to me and how much I loved her.  I would read her letter several times before I went to sleep.  I just couldn’t get enough and couldn’t wait to see her the next day.

Her letters never bored me.  Even though she rarely wrote something that I didn’t already know, I read and absorbed each word.  I read each letter as though I had never heard what she was saying.  Her words filled my heart and assured me that she was in love with me.

That is the way we should read our letter from God.  It’s easy to skim over the words that we’ve read over and over and perhaps committed to memory.  But when we read as though we’ve never read it before, we can see things that we may have missed.  God will continue to reveal his love to us and assure us of his presence.

During the past couple of years, I’ve downloaded several of Paul’s New Testament letters into Word documents and organized them into paragraphs, eliminating chapter and verse numbers.  It’s amazing what an impact it has made for me to read those letters as letters instead of a collection of chapters and verses.

God has given us his love letter.  Take the time to read it as though you have never read it before.  Ask him to show you things you have never seen before.  You’ll be amazed by what you will learn about him and his love for you.

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