The Big Book of… Tears

You might think that because I’m an author, I love to read. I do read. Leaders have to be readers. I guess I like to read. It’s just that it takes me a long time to read… not because I have a disability, but because I process as I read. I can’t skim a book and gain the major points, set it aside and move on. My mind just doesn’t function that way.

So, I’m super selective about what I choose to read… not just topically, but the size of a book. Too many pages, and I just get bogged down. I don’t read any book… other than the Bible… every day. So most of the books I choose to read are 200 pages or less. In fact, when I wrote my first book, I was determined to make it between 100-150 pages for people like me who can’t stand a long book.

Truth is, I’ve never read War and Peace, and the rest of that story is that I probably never will. Nor do I plan to read other books which require multiple volumes and have thousands of pages.

There are some really big books out there. I might eventually read Laura Bush’s Big Book of History, or the Big Book of Jokes for Kids, but you shouldn’t expect to find me reading most big books.

Yet I was intrigued when reading Scripture to find that God has at least one big book. I’m not sure if it’s one giant book or a book with multiple volumes. I don’t know whether it is on a scroll or in digital format. I just know that Scripture records for us in several places that God has a book that would have to be big to hold all it contains. And you might be surprised to find what He writes in His “Big Book.”

For example, God’s “Big Book” is a Big Book of Tears. Psalm 56:8 says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.”

That’s crazy, right? Of all the things God could keep track of and write in His “Big Book,” He chose to record your every year… and mine. Most of us want to forget most of the things that bring us to tears in life, but God chooses to record those experiences and feelings for eternity.

Why? Why would He do that?

I believe He does it for two reasons:

1) He wants us to know that He knows… and cares. Sometimes we hurt and think no one notices or cares. God keeps a record of our tears to let us know that He is right here with us… that He knows… that He cares… that He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Heb. 4:15).

and 2) He is keeping track of everything the enemy of our souls has done to cause us sadness and pain so that He can bring him to account for those actions, and bless us for the times when we have been mistreated. Isaiah tells us that God will restore to us double for our trouble. How would God know what double is if He wasn’t keeping a good record? So, He captures every tear in a bottle, and records the instance in His “Big Book of Tears.”

If life has brought you to tears today, just know that He knows… He cares… and He is going to set things right one day. That’s one big book that might just be worth reading!


A Great Read

I hated reading.  Don’t hate me.  I didn’t say I still hate reading.  I just said that I used to hate it.  In fact, until I got to my sophomore year at SAGU, I only read the Bible and books that I had to read for school.  There was one small window as a preteen when I enjoyed a couple of Star Wars novels, but apart from that, reading was anathema to me.

That all changed when Dr. Amy Alexander began her Comp 1 class with a devotion each day.  She would often read from a book from this one particular author.  As she read passages from the book and elaborated on them, I became entranced.  I was fascinated by this person who could write in such a way that it drew me in.  After hearing her read from this author’s book a few times, I had to find out who he was.  So I asked her after class one to to tell me that guy’s name so that I could write it down.

I was so excited about finding an author whose writing I enjoyed that I wanted to be sure to tell my parents the next weekend I was home from college.  They are avid readers, and I was sure they would also be overjoyed.  In fact, I was sure they would want to read his books, too.  I launched into telling Mom about it as soon as I got home.

“Mom, I have to tell you about this new author.  I usually don’t like reading, but I’ve got to find this guy’s books.  I could read anything he writes. His name is Max Lucado.”

My mom just laughed, and said, “Yeah, I know about him.  I have three or four of his books.”

I was blown away that she knew of the igniter of my reading passion.  And even more blown away that she had some of his books.  So when she asked if I’d like to borrow a couple of them to take back to school when I went back, I was ecstatic.

She added, “If you like his writing, I bet you’ll like this other author’s writing, too.”  That author was Charles Swindoll.

From there, I was introduced to the writings of Robert Schuller, Norman Vincent Peale, and others.  Suddenly, I liked to read.  I was a reader. Wow!

I’ve still read almost everything Lucado has written over the years.  And as time has gone on, I’ve discovered other authors I enjoy… Francis Chan, Kyle Idleman and Mark Batterson.

I mean, I read other books sometimes.  I listen to Christian fiction audiobooks by Ted Dekker, Terri Blackstock, Dee Henderson and Wayne Thomas Batson.  I picked up some leadership knowledge from John Maxwell, Peter Drucker and Henry Blackaby.  I’ve grown spiritually from reading titles like God’s Armorbearer and A Tale of Three Kings.  But in the end, I always gravitate back to the style that really hits home with me.  Something positive, upbeat.  Something that challenges but in a hopeful manner.  Something that lifts me to new heights of dreaming and believing and living.

So today, I finished reading chapter one of Dick and Ruth Foth’s new book, Known.  Chapter 1 is worth the price I paid for the entire book!  I can’t even speak to the rest of the book, but if you love a good story with a great point, you’ll love this book.

Why would I recommend a book I love?  Because Dr. Amy Alexander recommended one to me 25 years ago, and it has made a significant impact on my life.  Truth be told, I am the person and the writer I am today in large part due to being introduced to that first book.

So, even if you don’t like to read (anything other than the Bible… and this blog)… or even if you read slowly like I do… let me encourage you to find that author, that book, that genre, that format (hardcopy, digital or audio), and read, read, read.  Pick something you will enjoy, and it will motivate you to read more.  And as you read, your world will expand with new dreams, ideas and possibilities.

%d bloggers like this: