October 20, 2014

The Humble Letter

The other day I was reorganizing my room in preparation for the fall season and unearthed a hand-written letter from a friend.  I was so excited that I immediately sat down and read it.

Even though I knew the contents of the letter there was something so fun and special about holding a physical letter in my hands.  The texture of the paper, the grooves that the pen tip made, the way that light hit every fold, and the thought that my friend took time out of her busy day to write something just for me.

Letters are so beautiful.  In fact I would even say that they are precious.  It represents the care and thought someone took to put each word to pen.  There are feelings and emotions in every sentence.

I get the same great feeling when I read birthday cards my family gives me each year.  I know they love me and we still see each other just about every day but there is something wonderful about having love presented to me on ink and paper.  Its physical proof, evidence that they care.

After carefully tucking away the letter I thought about other letters that have influenced my mind and moods.  During the times of the Roman Empire the church was young and suffering tremendous persecution.  The New Testament speaks of their many sufferings and struggles. And God sent His church a man who had a talent for writing: Paul. 

Paul, known before his amazing conversion as Saul, was highly intellectual and religious.  Previous to becoming a Christian he firmly believed that his life was undeniably holy and pure.  He believed this even as he hunted down Christians, imprisoning them, torturing them, and ensuring their deaths (the most famous of these being Steven). In fact I sometimes wonder if Paul's "thorn in the flesh"(II Corinthians 12:7) might have been his memories of what he did and/or witnessed of the many innocents who died because of his actions.

But that's a thought for another post. Little did Paul know that God was hunting him. Ah!  His conversion and life is such a fantastic story! Anyhow, once Paul humbled himself and allowed God to use him it didn't take long before he started writing letters.  And he wrote beautiful, heart-felt letters to friends, colleagues, and churches.

His letters were personal in that even though anyone could read them it was evident that he took great pains to write them. He chose only to write what the Holy Spirit impressed upon him.  The themes were often a mix between encouragement and constructive criticism.  To me, many of his letters have the tone of someone much older and wiser. As they well should, right? When I was younger I often thought his letters sounded a bit like a favorite uncle or a loving grandparent. 

But it was his letters to Timothy where Paul revealed his heart as I imagine a father would to his son.  I can only imagine what Timothy felt reading those beautiful letters and keeping them safe for the times when he would want to "hear" the words even after Paul died.

The Bible is so amazing.  From front to back it is physical evidence of God's love and promise that my life, my story will have a happy ending. And so it will be for anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  God tells us how far He is willing to go to rescue us and bring us safely home.

I love personal letters!  I especially love physical letters.  So I'm going to begin writing and sending personal, physical letters to friends.  Hand-written. Hm, I might have to clean up my handwriting a tiny bit.  Its been quite a while since I've written any physical letters "just because."  Maybe someone will need the physical affirmation that they are remembered and cherished.

How about you?  When was the last time you received a personal letter that warmed your heart? When was the last time you wrote and sent a letter?  

" Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways.
The Lord be with all of you. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand.  
This is the mark in every letter of mine, it is the way I write.  
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all."
~ II Thessalonians 3: 16-17



I love personal letters too.
I believe this has inspired me to pick up my pen -- posting on
Facebook is so shallow compared to the tangible letter you can pick up again and again.

Good post!

SimplySincerity said...

Stuff: I agree. Facebook and all online platforms do not go as deep as a personal letter. Even emails lack the personal touch. Although they also have there place.

I'm excited that you have been encouraged to reach out and write to someone! What a wonderful surprise it will be for the recipient. :)


The Purple Assassin. said...

You're right.
The most personal gifts are letters.

SimplySincerity said...

The Purple Assassin:

I certainly enjoy receiving them. Thanks for visiting!