Back in 1998, Pamela Gilliland bought an old hatbox at auction for one dollar. When she opened it, she discovered a treasure. It wasn’t money or jewels; it was over 200 letters from two brothers, written to their parents during WWII. Those letters chronicle the life of an American GI during one of the most monumental times in modern history. Recently, Pamela has enlisted the services of an amateur historian to unravel the stories behind those letters. You can read about it on NBCNews.com.
The story about those letters got me thinking about our lives. In a real sense, each of us is writing a series of letters; although not with paper and pen. We write our story through the everyday activities of our lives. One of the things that is apparent from those WWII letters is that boredom and routine was a big part of the life of a GI. Much of our daily life is routine. We don’t see our activities as having any eternal significance. Yet each of those activities is a line in our story; a line that is creating the framework upon which the rest of our story hangs.
As I have studying the Gospels, I am always struck with the impression that life with Jesus was a fast paced, thrill a minute experience. But the truth is that is not what really happened. The Gospel writers crafted their accounts of Jesus’ life to convey a specific message. Their intent was to show clearly the divine nature of Jesus and to how he came to redeem a lost work. They were writing not just a history of Jesus’ life, but salvation history. What they left out would fill volumes.
Just as in the life of a soldier, the life of one of Jesus’ disciples was filled with routine and, at times, even boredom. There were periods of time when Jesus “disappeared” and they were left on their own. There were many long, grueling walks around Galilee, and between Galilee and Jerusalem. The disciples had to secure and prepare food, wash clothes, bathe (I assume they bathed at least once in awhile), and many other mundane tasks. This routine life was punctuated with amazing miracles, intimate conversations, and large group gathering.
We live most of our lives in the routine tasks of life. This encompasses our job and our home life. We are so used to this routine that we hardly notice it; it is just life. We break up this routine with occasional vacations or weekend getaways. Occasionally, God speaks powerfully into our routine. It may come at a worship service or in a quiet conversation with a friend. It may come on a mission trip to a foreign country or helping a neighbor. The point is that God hangs the “significant events” of our life on the framework of our routine. Without our routine life, we would not be in the place for God to speak to us or use us in a mighty way. It is the routine of our lives that places us where God can use us for His glory.
Those letters I mentioned earlier were written by two brothers to their parents. As we live our lives, we are writing letters to our Heavenly Father. He delights in receiving them. When we live with God on our mind, He is glorified. Parents love to have their children share their life with them. It doesn’t matter if the things they share are significant or mundane. Parents want to be included and involved in their children’s lives. The same is true of our Heavenly Father. He is watching all that we do. He is fully aware of all that we do. But He is most delighted when we actively share that with Him. Over and over again, God invites us to share our lives with Him.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
There is one other important thing I want to point out. Those WWII letters were discovered by a person to whom they were not written. Pamela has the privilege of stepping into the lives of two brothers that she may never meet or know personally. Yet her life can be enriched by their letters. So it is with our letters to God. In a very real sense, other people are reading our letters to God every day. We may not know it, but they are. They watch how we handle the routine of life, as well as the unexpected and the difficult. Through our lives, they are learning what it means to have a vital relationship with God through Jesus Christ. God wants the letters that we write every day to be an encouragement to others. Our earthly lives will one day come to an end, but the letters we write will live on long after we are gone.
You may think that what you do every day is insignificant, but it isn’t. God is using your routine life to build a framework upon which He wants to display His glory.
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)