I can’t remember when it started, but I have always loved a good book. Hours of my childhood were spent in the library, perusing possible choices to take home and read until the wee hours of the night. I’d get caught up in a book and not emerge until I had read it cover to cover. The best present I think I’ve ever received was an early version of the Kindle my husband surprised me with. Hundreds of books together in one little device? Lovely, indeed.
So with this love of books, I am a happy mother seeing my six-year-old daughter now starting to read. Tonight, she brought me a copy of The Story for Little Ones, a chronological version of the Bible written just for youngsters. She decided that she was going to read it in all of her kindergarten precociousness.
And read it she did. She read about wise King Solomon (or Sullivan or Samuel, as she alternately called him). Then she struggled with a word, and I tried to help her sound it out…but it is one of those words that just doesn’t follow basic rules of sounding things out. I simply told her, “That word is ‘wrote'”.
“WHAT?” she replied in only the way a 6-year-old girl can say (imagine it with a little sassiness).
I tried to explain that a letter W and a letter R together make a “rrrrr” sound. But she was having none of it, completely bewildered at such a strange combination that didn’t fit the simplicity of sounding out words.
As I thought of our language (which I admittedly love), there are so many strange conventions and letter combinations that are the exception to what are supposed to be the rules. I can only imagine the struggles a non-native English speaker has in learning our language.
What if God operated the way the English language does?
Sometimes I think our limited understanding of God pushes us to create exceptions and rules and guidelines that limit our ability to connect with and understand Him.
You can be saved only if you worship in this way….in this specific kind of church….or dress this way….or speak this liturgy….or any other thousands of combinations.
But the language of God is love. And that language is simply spelled out in the life and death of His son Jesus. He didn’t say that if you believe in Jesus you will be saved – but only with this one caveat, exception, demand or extra rule. He keeps the language simply for our simple minds. He loved us SO much that he sent his son to die in our place the death that our sins deserved.
How simply John 3:16 says it for us:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Or Romans 6:23:
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We didn’t earn it. We can’t DO anything other than believe him, trust in him, and receive this precious gift.
Now that’s my kind of easy-to-understand language.
– Jen Clark