Book Covers- Rev. Susan Walker L Town Radio Guest Columnist
You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
I’ve been thinking lately that life is like a library. When you walk into your local branch, you see the books from afar as bands of color with a variety of widths and heights. That’s all you know about them. As you get closer, you can see that they are divided into sections according to their subjects and types, but you still can’t read the titles.
If you walk right up to a shelf, you can actually read the titles, but you don’t know what‘s inside the book. If you pull one out to look at it, you can see the front and back cover. This is as far as most of us go with most of the books. On a very small number of books, we may review the table of contents. The number we actually read is even smaller. Even those we read are mostly forgotten except for a few details and our overall impression of the book.
So it is with the people in our lives, those around us in the community, and people we know through social media like Facebook or Twitter. We live in a library full of people. We really don’t know each other very well at all. People we know from afar are filed mentally into different categories according to their race and social location as we see it. For those closer to us, we may think we know their subject and type. For most people in our lives, all we know is their book cover. We do know something about them – the part that shows on the outside. For a few, we may know the table of contents of their life, but we have not read their entire book. No one can do that but God.
We need to keep this in mind as we make assumptions about what is going on with people we know. Looking at their book cover we guess at who, what, when, where, and especially why, but the truth is we really don’t know all the details. Only God knows the whole truth of their story.
When those around us make assumptions and misunderstand what is going on in our life, we should remember that they are only reading our book cover. We expect them to understand us, but they can’t. How can they when they have never read the book of our life? Even if they have read our table of contents, they really don’t know exactly how we got to this point. They really don’t know where it is all going.
Psalm 139 tells us that God knows ALL about us. God helped write our book and knows everything in it. God has been there with us through it all, and the totality of our experience rests in Him. God knows our story better than we do because he can hold all the details in full view. God is helping add the new chapters of our life and has 20/20 vision for how it all works together to make us the person we are today.
Knowing this, let’s give our brothers and sisters more grace and mercy because only God knows their whole story. Knowing this, let’s not expect other people to understand us completely because only God can do that. Take your issues to Him because he has read your whole book and understands exactly where you’re coming from.
Rev. Susan Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church and a Guest Columnist for L Town Radio.