The Greatest Letter

God’s word is a letter from our closest and truest friend, a testament to who we really are.

The Bible is the greatest love letter of all time. The verses remind us how much we are loved by our Father, and in turn, teach us to love the people He has placed in our lives. God’s word is a letter from our closest and truest friend, a testament to who we really are. It’s our Creator’s perfect message to all of humanity. Let the Bible be a daily reminder of His unconditional, unfailing love.

To celebrate my birthday a few years ago, my husband sent out an email to all my friends and family asking them to write me a birthday letter. I opened letter after letter, smoothed the creases of the stationery, took in the fragrance of their home origin, traced their penmanship with my eyes and read the sweetest, most gracious words. They reminded me of wonderful memories and shared experiences, encouraged me in the truth I fight so hard to hold on to and made me feel deeply loved.

And as I read each letter, what struck me was how much I learned about each of my friends. Through the stories and memories they shared I learned what was important to them. I learned what made them laugh and cry. I learned what made them feel loved. Each letter held an insight into the soul of the one who wrote it.

I remember the moment this very thing happened for me as I read the Bible. I had always heard that I should read the Bible as though it was a love letter to me. I loved this idea and picked through the Bible looking for passages that made me feel as if they were for me alone. I wanted to have a special, for-my-eyes-only word from God. But after a while, I grew bored with the Bible. I wasn’t sure what to do with the books of the Old Testament and many of the New. By reading the Bible through the lens of appeal to me and me alone, my reading grew stale and limited.

The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law” (Psalm 119:18 AMPC). I joined him in praying that God would open my eyes so I might see and know Him. The Bible is an incomparable and unparalleled love letter to all of humanity. It is a letter to us, but it is not primarily about us.

The Author of the Unparalleled Love Letter

God wants us to know Him. He wants us to know Him for who He truly is. For thousands of years, people have layered their opinions, doubts, beliefs and academic understanding over Scripture, causing our view of God to be distorted. No one likes to be misunderstood, least of all, God. God goes to great lengths to show us Himself. He shows us the power of His words by speaking the universe and everything in it into existence (Hebrews 11:3). He shows us His creativity by creating humans out of dust, filling the earth with millions of creatures and painting the skies. He wrote His first commands to us on tablets of stone, establishing that He alone is God and there is no one like Him (Exodus 20:3). Jesus, the Word, “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 ESV).

God speaks to us through His Son (Hebrews 1:1–2). Jesus is the embodiment of God’s greatest letter of love, devotion, relentless pursuit and salvation of his people. When the crowds looked on Jesus, they saw God. 1 John 4:8 ESV says, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” This definition of love gives us hope that love—true, unswerving, all-satisfying, never-ending, never-giving-up, never-running-out kind of love—does exist. We, in our broken and fallen state, cannot conjure up the kind of love that won’t at some point fail a friend, wound a spouse or hate an enemy. Through Jesus, we have access to the kind of love that will never fail, never wound and always exercises tender mercies.

But we are a forgetful people. We hear these beautiful things about God’s deep and abiding love for us and we see Him move in our hearts, but then the sun sets and rises and we have forgotten much of the love He showed us the day before. The last way God ensured His promise for us to know Him and His love was by writing everything in this unparalleled love letter. Daily, we have the opportunity to read and get to know our God, our Father, our friend, our greatest and truest love.

In the Old Testament, when people wanted to remember something God did for them—whether it was rescue them from an enemy or provide food and drink—they set out stones to mark the place where God rescued them. They called these markers Ebenezers, or “stones of help.” They could look back across the landscape and see all the exact locations where God helped them in their times of need. If they found themselves doubting that God loved them, would show up for them or provide for them, they needed only to look across the land and see the many ways God had taken care of them.

Throughout my Bible, certain passages are circled and dated. I can look throughout the pages and see the dates and the way God showed up for me, provided for me, helped me and prompted me to remember his love and goodness. Psalm 78 is dedicated to the idea of “remembering.” We are a forgetful people who need to be reminded again and again who He is and what He has done for us.

God, in His kindness and understanding of the plight of the forgetful, has written down everything we need to know about God, ourselves, and life on this earth and the next. Our Bible is one of our greatest Ebenezers. When we forget that God is good or that He cares for us, all we have to do is open His Book to read about the Author of Life. God gives us His words so when we find ourselves forgetting who He is and how much He loves us, we can go back and read again to be reminded and encouraged.

The Reader/Recipient

We love to know how much we are loved. When we receive a letter from someone we love, we pore over every detail, every word and every thought. The time they spent crafting the perfect sentence to express how much they love us, miss us or think we are funny or special makes us feel held dear and cherished. Through someone else’s words, we get to see ourselves the way they see us. We might think we are annoying and a burden, but they see us as a joy. We feel like a failure, but they see us winning at life. We feel worthless, but they think we are valuable.

To be truly seen, known and loved is a powerful thing. The psalmist, David, said it this way, “My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you” (Psalm 139:15-18 ESV).

God has more thoughts of us than there are grains of sand in all the beaches and deserts of the world. God thinks that we are valuable, precious and significant. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love, He will no longer rebuke you, but rejoice over you with singing” (NIV). Our God, the Creator of the Universe, delights in us.

In the great letter of the Bible, we get to see ourselves the way God sees us. He sees us at our worst. Beyond annoyances or small disobediences, He saw us and loved us while we were His enemies (Romans 5:10). At our very worst, God didn’t look the other way or try to think up the worst punishment to give us. Instead, God accepted His very own Son’s blood as payment for our sins. Jesus stood in between God and us and took on all the wrath that we deserved.

Not only are we seen and loved by God, we are known by God. Being known by God is what defines us as Christians. What God says and thinks of us is our truest identity. But instead of looking to our Creator to define us and tell us who we are, we look to creation—work, people, relationships, money or power—to give us our identity. Christian author Paul Tripp says it this way, “Stop looking at yourself in carnival mirrors. Carnival mirrors give us a distortion of who we really are, and they’re everywhere we look.”

The Bible is our truest and clearest mirror. When we look to God’s Word, we first and foremost see God. Through seeing God, we see who we were truly created to be.

“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.”
—2 Corinthians 3:2 NIV

Thank you for the gifts You have given unto me.

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