Monday, November 12, 2012

survival kit, pt. 1: the jsb

In the past two weeks, two people have talked to me about how they have friends who are going through separation or divorce.  It's weird.  When people ask me, "What do I do?"  "How do I help someone facing divorce?" my brain often just comes up blank.  I know that I know things, but I usually freeze.  It's too big.  Where do I start?  I've said all along that pretty much all of 2009 is a blur to me.  But God used some strange and wonderful things to bring me back to sanity.

So, I've decided to put together a crisis survival kit.  More for my own self than for you.  But, really, if you don't know anyone besides me who has gone through, is going through or maybe should go through a divorce, then you just don't know enough people.  Look up and go find someone who needs you.  They're probably sitting beside you in the pew anyway.  just sayin.

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

I first learned about this book in the fall of 2008.  This is the period of time I lovingly refer to as the semester from hell.  A few friends were closely watching the apparent disintegration of my marriage and our ministry and meeting with me to pray throughout the semester.  It was a dark time.  The book came up in our conversation and afterward I went straight to the Christian bookstore and bought it.  I sat in the parking lot of the store for about 45 minutes reading and crying.  That evening at dinner I told everyone that I had bought a new book.  No big deal - we bought a lot of books back then.  But, even though I was obviously excited about this little book, I got nothing but skepticism from my family.  Being the good little reformed pastor's kids that they were, they had been taught to identify moralism and grace pretty well.  Ben, who was 16 or 17 said, "Read the story of Jonah - kids books NEVER get the story of Jonah right."  

{OK he was right about that!  How many kids books/sunday school curriculums/bible school programs have instructed our kids that the lesson to learn from Jonah is "first-time obedience."  Oh, precious people.  Please, don't teach your kids this.}

So I read it.  It was titled: God's Messenger.  And of course I cried because I cried at everything during the semester from hell because everything was so stinking tragic.  But here was hope and this time I was crying with hope.  Here was the true gospel screaming at me and my family.
SPLASH!  No sooner had Jonah hit the water than the waves grew calm, the wind died down, and the storm stopped.  Just then, when Jonah thought it was all over, when he was sure he was going to drown, God sent a big fish to rescue him.  The fish swallowed Jonah whole -- with one big gulp.  Jonah must have thought he'd died, it was so dark in there, like in a tomb....

Sitting there in the darkness for three whole days, Jonah had plenty of time to think.  Pretty soon he realized his plan was, well...a very silly plan indeed...

Many years later, God was going to send another Messenger with the same wonderful message.  Like Jonah, he would spend three days in utter darkness.  But this Messenger would be God's own Son.  He would be called "The Word" because he himself would be God's Message.  God's Message translated into our own language.  Everything God wanted to say to the world -- in a Person.
For the next year or so, this little book was the only Bible I read.  Judge me if you must.  I don't care.  My brain was sad and tired.  I needed Jesus.  I needed a Rescuer.  This whole book is about Jesus just like the whole Bible is about Jesus.  What a concept! A kid's Bible that actually teaches what the Bible says.  All the Old Testament stories told in the light of the Savior who would come.  Little pictures of the One who would come to rescue us.  Not just rescue us from divorce or abandonment or sadness but from our own sinful selves and the death we bring upon ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. I will buy this book at church on Sunday. I've always known about it and how much you've loved it. Thanks for the reminder.

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