I have not wanted to write this – like I have because I think it’s important and I found it so interesting – but I didn’t want to because it was hard to get the right words and make sure I’m communicating clearly– and in all honesty, I’m not even sure what message I’m trying to get across. I’m really just absorbing new information. So, as always, I need your grace.
Basically, I hit thrift store jackpot last year and have thus begun to accumulate a good chunk of books for my probably-far-off dream of having a personal library. Yep, we’re talking Beauty & the Beast-Belle-Style, complete with a ladder if at all possible, but not mandatory. What will be mandatory is a comfortable chair, tea, and a fireplace. Anyway- you get the idea that I love collecting books. The books, I’ve realized in retrospect, that I grabbed at this thrift store seem to have a common thread. I really only remember briefly glancing at titles and grabbing books and throwing them into my cart. That’s it. So when I came across a few of these finds that had been hibernating on my book shelf a few weeks ago- I experienced a range of emotions as I read. I’ve definitely been anywhere from intrigued, appalled, and moved to discuss. Here’s what I found…
The first book I finally began to read is called, Why Wait? by Josh McDowell and Dick Day. I haven’t read all of the book, but it begins with some statistics…
Facts About Teenage Sex:
-By age 20, 81 percent of today’s unmarried males and 67 percent of today’s unmarried females have had sexual intercourse.
-The number of never-married teenage girls having intercourse increased by two-thirds in the decade of the ’70s.
-Most research shows that the average age for first having sex is fifteen for girls and fourteen for boys.
Facts About Teenage Pregnancy:
-This year more than 1,100,000 teenage girls will become pregnant.
-Three out of every four pregnancies will be unintentional.
-Of those pregnancies, about 400,000 will end in abortion.
Kind of alarming, right? Like those are high numbers…
The craziest part – this book was published in 1987.
As someone who works with youth, my heart breaks at these numbers.
Then, I picked up This Book has Issues – Adventures in Popular Psychology by Christian Jarrett and Joannah Ginsburg. Two things I found incredibly intriguing…
#1 – “Love has to be blind. In the first stage of falling in love, we idealize our partner. In our mind’s eye, we amplify the traits that we are drawn to and focus on what we want to see. We choose to ignore, dismiss, or underemphasize the traits we don’t like. This is furthered by the tendency for each of us to ‘be at our best’ at the beginning of the relationship, something for which we then often credit our beloved- how ironic! The majority of new couples also think their relationship is ‘special’ when compared to others, and that they have found something deeper and more intimate than what other couples share. This blind love may serve to allow us to progress to the stages where the following chemistry begins…”
#2 – Want to Fall in Love? Well, New York-based psychologist Arthur Arun has found the formula. He had subjects who had never met nor seen one another before reveal very intimate details about their lives for half an hour, then stare silently into one another’s eyes for four minutes. A strong majority of the subjects reported feeling deeply attracted to one another after the experiment – amazingly one couple even went on to get married…”
Now, I’m totally not recommending pouring out your heart to the next hottie you see – but if you set that fact to the side for a sec and chomp on the main course…
Book #3 in my succession of reading was called Friendship with Jesus by Joseph Lange and Anthony Cushing. (Please keep reading even though it has kind of a cheesy name.) It truly is an insightful book, especially having just read about how we build love relationships…
“To pray is to encounter and communicate with the person of Jesus. It is building a friendship. What matters is the quality of conversations, not the quantity or style. Ten long, boring conversations with someone probably won’t make a friendship. But, if we honestly open up with someone sharing who we are, chances are real friendship and intimacy can evolve.”
“Our relationship with God has the same dynamics as a marriage relationship. As we spend more and more time getting to know Him, we can have faith in His love. The experiences of the faithfulness of Jesus’ love is the only sensible reason to commit our whole lives to Him – in a way that is more complete than any earthly marriage.”
So all of this to say…that random Friday morning a couple weeks ago, where I seemed to be diving into three completely unrelated books, actually lead to a beautifully woven thread leading me to a deeper understanding of the love of God and my purpose…
“The goal of our whole lives is Heaven: to be totally united in love with God.” -Joseph Lange
In order to accomplish that goal – I should probably start now by spending time with God, in His Word. If I want to learn to trust Him, I must first get to know Him and be honest with Him. If I want to live for Him, I have to talk to Him to find out what that means- and most of all, I have to listen to what He has to say.
Conclusion: God is amazing. In my mind, only the Author of the Universe can use three books written by a variety of human authors to create one masterpiece of literature perfectly composed to speak to my heart. (And in reality, He actually used way more authors than that in the Bible…) This collection of books ranging from teen sex stats – which I believe reveal our deepest longing to be loved no matter what the cost – to popular psychology seeking to contrive love and finally to the authentic whole Love of our Creator… yes, all three books and authors gave me insightful snippets that ultimately pointed me back to God’s complete work – the love of God who has met our deepest needs in the person of Jesus.
“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” -1 John 4:15-16