The Love Letter
Once there was a young woman who met a young man and they were married. They were very, very happy together for many years but tragically he died early. The woman never married again because she felt satisfied to have married well and had many lovely memories of her beloved to comfort her.
She also had a letter from him. This was a special letter, the only one he had ever written to her. It was very long, almost 100 pages, and it contained many stories and thoughts her husband wanted her to know about himself and about his love for her. It was perhaps her most precious treasure.
She kept it in the attic along with her other valuables and would read it from time to time. One year however she went up to read it and discovered that termites had somehow gotten into it and had eaten portions away from several pages. What a tragedy! Her most precious thing was now marred! She would read the letter and try to remember what her husband had originally written, but she could only remember a few things really well.
But there was something I failed to mention. Her husband was in fact a famous man. He had written extensively about many subjects, indeed, there were many scholars who had written about him, his life, and his writings. Interestingly tho, no one knew about the woman’s personal letter from her husband.
When the letter came to light, the scholars were euphoric. It was immediately published along with what the scholars thought would be the best insertions for the termite-damaged missing sections. The woman helped too, of course. Eventho the scholars knew much more than she did about her husband’s writings, she knew much more than they did about what sounded like her husband and what didn’t.
One day someone asked the woman if she should continue to keep the letter since it wasn’t complete anymore. “Nonsense”, she said. “Why should I change the way I feel about my husband’s love and his wonderful letter. Perhaps I can’t remember exactly what the missing portions said, but I still have pages and pages that are still intact and are very clear and delightful to read. The scholars have done a pretty good job of restoring the letter and more importantly, much more importantly, the memory of my husband and the things we did together and talked about are how I treasure the memory of him. The letter is just special because it was to me alone and because he didn’t write another.
This story sort of illustrates the Bible. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. Over time a few verses have turned up missing or have become corrupted, but scholars have done a very good job of restoring what the original said. But more importantly, much more importantly, we have Christ in our hearts to treasure and His love to comfort us day by day. The Bible is only another way, a wonderful way, to find out more about Jesus. Jesus is who the Bible about. We treasure Jesus and delight to read God’s Word, remembering that Jesus himself IS the Word made flesh. And God be praised, most of the Bible is still intact, easy to read, and easy to live by. Well, maybe not always easy to live by. [Cp. Abraham Lincoln story.]