“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” — John 1:1
I do not take for granted that it is a gracious gift from God that I was born in a first-world country and allowed an education and thus the ability to read. And with that I have been granted access to many things to read and learn from and enjoy. Although we have countless ways to be entertained and informed, the fact that God gives us his revelation through words should not be lost on us. Reading matters.
As I have grown older, I have learned to appreciate reading more. When I was a child, my mother gave me the wonderful gift of reading to me. She read stories from the Ken Taylor Storybook Bible each night before we went to bed. She would let us pick out which story we’d read — my brother and me — and then she’d ask questions after each reading. It’s a sweet memory. It was my first taste of the wonders of books.
To be honest, I am not a huge reader, by volume or pace. I read slowly and am easily distracted. So, for me, to read is an act of discipline and a labor of love. I have to consciously set aside time and then resist the temptation to turn my attention other places. But the reward is great enough that I turn to it again and again.
What do books do for you that you can’t get from a movie or television? They teach you patience and persistence. Is that a good thing? Yes. Reading also teaches you to trust the author. What looks troubling on page 20 can be resolved on page 459. Why not resolve it on page 20? or page 1? you ask. Why waste the reader’s time? You don’t because there is much to learn in the pages between that you would be the lesser for if you didn’t read them. What you become — as a reader of the story — by page 459 you wouldn’t have attained at page 1. That is a gift of the author.
Life works more like books than movies or TV. I am better for having read books. And the patience borne of being a reader teaches you to look at life in the same way. What we are given by God are not everything we want to know, when we want to know it. There are mysteries that come dribbling to us, bit by bit. There are threads in our story that are also threads in a larger story that only the Author has determined. We are just a part of the bigger story.
Is that fair? Fair to whom? We have been given a role in the Story and our every move has been considered and plotted. It is for our good.
So, this new year, if you haven’t already resolved — or considered — to read more you certainly should. And while you’re at it, read more from what the Author Himself has revealed to us. To know Him more is to love Him.