The other evening as I was preparing to go out, my family were just starting to watch a film on TV about a girl who couldn’t ever leave her house, because she had been told her whole life that she had an immune deficiency that could kill her if she was exposed to germs. The film caught my attention, because it reminded me of the true story of Poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning.
Elizabeth had spend most of her life as an “invalid”, lonely and isolated with her writing as a comfort, until a young man called Robert appeared on the scene. Elizabeth and Robert fell in love and because of Elizabeth’s father’s tyrannical control over her life thus far, the two felt they had no option but to run away together to get married. Settling in Italy.
However, Elizabeth loved her father and for many, years to come, sought to reach out to him to rebuild their relationship. She faithfully wrote letter after letter to him, expressing her affection, describing her and Robert’s lives together. He never once responded.
One day, years later, Elizabeth received a large parcel in the post. Excited to see that it was from her father, she tore open the package. Her excitement quickly turned to heartbreak. Inside was every letter she had written to her father, each one unopened – unread.
Elizabeth and her father remained estranged, never reconciling. She died in her husband’s arms in Italy and it was too late.
The originals of Elizabeth’s letters are on display in a museum and have been published for all to read; considered to be among the most beautiful writings in English literature.
How very tragic it is that the letters were never even seen by the one person they were actually addressed to. If only Elizabeth’s father had opened just one letter, would his his hard heart have softened towards his daughter?
Does this remind you of another story?
God has written letters to you and I
The Bible is like a treasure box of letters from our Father God to us.
His “letters” are filled with His outpourings of love for you, His direction and instruction for your life, and His Fatherly hopes and dreams for you, His child.
In reading God’s written Word; the Bible, we discover The Father’s true character. He makes Himself known to us as we absorb and apply His words.
The Bible is the most quoted from book in the world. So many people, who have no relationship whatsoever ever the Author, Have at least one Bible in their home – often a beautiful, ornate “family Bible”, meant for display, but seldom if ever read.
What Do God’s Love Letters Mean to You?
Sadly, many people are like Elizabeth’s father. They have never read, and possibly will never read God’s love-filled letters. We all know someone like this, and it’s sad and frustrating at the same time, isn’t it? I think of my own loved ones who don’t know my Father God – I just want to grab them and say; “if you would just read some of His written words, you would catch a glimpse of God’s nature; how incredible He is; and maybe your stubborn, hardened heart would melt a little so that His love could get through to you.”
But, sadly, like Elizabeth’s father, many of these people never will soften. They will callously and stubbornly refuse to read or hear God’s words and never be reconciled to Him.
Then there’s another type of person. The Christian who “skim-reads” their Bible; just the “nice bits”. The ‘sanitised’, pretty sounding verses that can be posted on social media without offending anyone. But please don’t ask these people to engage in any sort of study program. or engage in God’s Word in a way that might be life changing. “Life’s too busy!“
God’s Words in the Bible are so much more than mere words written on pages; His Word is life giving. It is food to our souls and life to our very bones. In fact, we need His Word to get through every aspect of life:
Proverbs 3:1–8: “My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying. Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.”
Whoever you are, wherever you’re at, as you read this, what will you do with The Father’s love letters to you?