"I had always felt life first as a story:
and if there is a story there is a storyteller."
We have lots of children's bibles around our house. I think that as families accumulate children (so to speak), they also accumulate bibles written just for them! Over the years, we've enjoyed reading aloud many of the various & sundry versions with our littles... The Beginner's Bible by Zonderkids is a classic (in my opinion) and our copy has been read and reread and reread more times than I can tell; The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos is an excellent text for older children-- it's still a storybook Bible, but it's very thorough in its coverage. I must say, however, that my absolute, absolute, without a doubt favorite is The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The illustrations are delightful, and as its subtitle states, every story
whispers His name.
Recently Big Man and I decided to start rereading this particular Bible together, one story at a time. While the boys are working elsewhere and while Lolli is napping contentedly in her crib, we climb into the leather chair and shut out the world around us. It's wonderful time together, just the two of us, sharing God's Word and a snuggle. After we finish, we chat about the story, and Big Man always has a question or two ready for me-- some of them very easy to answer (Why doesn't Eve have girl eyebrows?? I didn't realize he was such a discriminating artist :) and others which require some further explanation (Mommy, why did Satan want to trick her, and why did she disobey God??) And every single time we read together, I'm blown away by the beauty and the simplicity of the gospel.
As an adult-- as a mom (and all that role entails!)-- it gets very easy to turn my Christian walk into something so much more difficult than it was ever intended to be. It gets so easy to labor on the minutia of daily life while overlooking the bigger picture, and it gets frightfully easy to forget... to forget in my day to day operations that the contents of God's Word to us... every story, every character, every word... it's all in there for a reason. Intentional. Powerful. Life-changing. Soul-saving. Written just for me. And for you. From cover to cover, God's love letter to us-- His Story... full of His incomparable love for us. Simple enough for a child to understand, yet utterly profound in its truth. And in that letter-- in HIM-- we find freedom.
A few days ago Big Man and I read about the creation of the world, and then we read Adam and Eve's story, as well. And in her usual manner, the author-- instead of leaving us hanging at the end of a very sad situation (Adam & Eve's removal from the garden and their separation from God... make that-- all of humanity's separation from God)-- pointed us directly to the One who will make all things right... the One who will redeem His fallen race... the One who will love us forever with His everlasting love. At the close of the chapter titled The Terrible Lie, we find this wonderful reminder:
But before they left the garden, God made clothes for his children, to cover them. He gently clothed them and then he sent them away on a long, long journey-- out of the garden, out of their home.
Well, in another story, it would all be over and that would have been...
But not in this Story.
God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan-- a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his children back. One day, he would make the world their perfect home again. And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes.
You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children-- with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.
And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God's children would miss him always, and long for him-- lost children yearning for their home.
Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: "It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I'm going to do battle against the snake. I'll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I'm coming back for you!"
And he would. One day, God himself would come.
Hallelujah! and amen~
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth,
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,
and there was no longer any sea.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.' "