I love stories. I used to be a voracious novel-reader, mostly of the Christian historical fiction variety. As my horizons expanded, I came to recognize that most of what I was reading was a far cry from high quality literature. In fact, I was almost embarrassed that some of those books had managed to be published by a Christian publishing house!
For the past five years or so I've been more selective. I'll go a long period without reading a novel (lots of non-fiction though, always!) then I'll hit upon an author I like and devour many of their works within a couple of months. Recent favorites have been John Steinbeck, Wendell Berry, and Chaim Potock. Sometimes I go to the library just because I want a story so I grab the closest Christian novel and I am almost always disappointed.
Tuesday night Keith kicked me out of the house for some Mommy-recharge time. I had the vague notion that I wanted to get a novel at the library (to read at a coffee shop!), but I didn't want to suffer through another junker. . .
I am convinced the Lord put the thought in my mind: a book I heard about maybe in WORLD magazine months ago, something written by Randy Alcorn. Something about the persecuted church. I found it. I read it. And while it is not GREAT (Steinbeck-level) literature, it is profoundly moving, and I hope life-changing.
When was the last time you read a novel that shocked you with reality? That made you weep and caused your heart to cry, "Come, Lord Jesus!"? That made you face again your own smallness and lack of faith? That made you weep with those who weep and want to do something real to help?
The vision I received of the persecuted church in China is so shocking precisely because it's based on truth - how things really are. I read my Bible this morning with new awareness that in another land, right now, other Christians are being tortured for owning one. And more incredible, if those same Christians are ever released from prison, they'll go right back to reading, teaching and distributing the Word of God. It is their treasure. HE is their treasure.
And I am ashamed of my pettiness.