We are a house of readers. Three of us read voraciously. The fourth likes to read but it’s hit and miss. He loves to start a book or series, it’s another thing to finish it. On occasion, he’ll find a book that once he starts reading he just can’t put down.
This is what happened this past weekend. A friend loaned him book one of a series. The boy read it in less than twenty-four hours. However book two was not to be found. He knew it was in the school library but he didn’t want to wait until Monday to get it. We tried online. We tried the public library. Then we went to the bookstore. No luck. The shelves were empty.
I suggested he try the church library when we were at church the next day. I thought I had seen it there before. Regardless, he was in a holding pattern until he could get that book.
Sunday dawned, and as I waited at the car for the boys after service, my son came blazing through the parking lot. In his hand, was the the holy grail. Book Two. The library had it! He was just about jumping out of his skin.
I was so happy for him. Not just because he got to read the second book right away but because it was a solid demonstration of how much God loves him. That the God who created us, loves us and cares about the little details of our ordinary lives. It was a building block of faith that frankly, we both needed.
Probably some are thinking that this is a very trifling thing. That the book being there in the library had nothing to do with God. Or it is too petty for God to care about. I would have to say I disagree. At one time, I would have been in that camp of thinking. I’ve changed my mind and I believe it has everything to do with God. That His handprints are all over this book.
I recently read a novel that had one of the key characters, an inventor, saying over and over again, “Little first, big next.” (The Dark Unwinding, by Sharon Cameron) Little things turn into big things. It’s true in life and it’s true with God. At times it’s the smallest incident or line read, or sung, a person met or chatted with, that in turn opens the door to something much larger. That sets the mind to thinking, analyzing and dreaming. Little things turn into big things.
It’s important to God that a boy needs a book. Why? Little seeds of faith planted can turn into big seeds of faith. It’s not about the book so much as it is about the Giver. Hopefully my son will remember this, at a time when he has to trust God. Not because the outcome is guaranteed but because the One he’s asking is trustworthy to do the right thing for Him because He loves him.
We all need to have a few small (or big) series of Yeses to be able to deal with a large No or series of No. I’ve learned through other parents and a course, Road to Hope, that if all a child hears is no, then the child is not going to expect much. They’ll stop asking eventually. Do you think the child will have a great relationship with the person saying no all the time? What about self-esteem?
I’m not talking about gaining stuff, feeding our greed, our narcissism. It’s about relationship. Getting to know God and who He is. Is He trustworthy? What does His love look like to me? We have to learn that. A much desired book in a library is a building block in the relationship. God knows what we need all the time. He acts accordingly.
We focus a lot on learning to accept the no’s. With grace. With humility. With anger. Etc.
We forget that we need the Yes too. Sometimes I just pray, “God we need a win here in this situation.” I may or may not get it, but I’ve learned that God will do what’s best because in my own relationship, there have been some “much desired books” show up that have built up that knowledge. He has shown himself true and trustworthy through those wins and losses. God knows we just need the win on occasion and he graciously gives it to us. I’m so grateful for those times. Life is hard. A wise and well placed win can turn small things into big things.
I see it happening every night, as my son thanks God for these books and for providing them for him to read. (Without my prompting!) It’s seem like nothing, but to a young boy just on the brink of starting a real relationship with God, it’s monumental. “Little first, big next!”
The book series was Andrew Klavan‘s The Homelanders Series in case you were wondering. Four books read in less than a week! Because all he’s wanted to do is TO READ!!!