Frederick and Elizabeth Noble got married on New Year’s Day, 1941. It was World War 2 and Frederick was on a 48-hour leave from his British Tank Regiment. Between military assignments, Frederick took time to write love letters and send telegrams back to Elizabeth; hundreds of them. Mostly he wrote about home and how much he missed his new bride.
Finally, Frederick did make it home, and rarely did he leave Elizabeth’s side again. The two settled in the English countryside and raised a large, beautiful family. After both had died, their children opened a tea chest that contained almost every love letter Frederick and Elizabeth had ever exchanged. Many were from the war years, but some were exchanged late in life, while the couple was in their 90s.
Yet, the collection, in and of itself, is unremarkable. What gives the collection power, is what gives all such things their power: The love that brought them into being, for each word was driven by devotion. Every sentence was constructed with affection. Each paragraph served as a confession of a love stronger than death. Indeed, Frederick and Elizabeth both died just days apart. Love had truly made the two, one.
Have you ever received such a love letter? Do you have a collection of such words, words motivated by adoration, words from your beloved? Actually, you do. It’s that best-selling book of all time; that leather-bound volume shoved into the nightstand drawer or sitting ragged and dog-eared on the kitchen table. Or if you prefer, it’s downloaded as an app on your mobile device. It’s the Bible, and yes, it is a love letter written to you.
“A love letter? I thought the Bible was a book of religious laws, full of condemnation, genocide, hard to pronounce surnames, and the occasional children’s story. Isn’t it just a bunch of words?”
Might you look deeper, for the Bible is a powerful thing, enlivened by God’s Spirit and constructed by divine affection? “For God so loved the world,” the familiar text says, “that he gave his only begotten Son.” That’s a summary of the whole, forever shattering the concept that the Bible is just a collection of printed pages.
No, it is a love story; a love letter. It is a doorway to experience Christ, the Christ who genuinely loves us – more than mere words – the Christ who just couldn’t live without us.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.