There are moments in my writing experience when a reader comments, “This is just what I needed!” Or my words trigger a memory, and the reader relates a story to me. A small town newspaper editor read The Giving Grandpa and returned a letter sharing an experience he had with Homer “Grandpa” Miller that I never knew. Through the power of written words author and reader bonded across time and space. Amazing!
We are inundated with the noise of printed and digital media and having one’s message heard and understood is nearing the impossible. The torrent of books, images, text, video clips, news, not news, messages of infinite variety, rants, and opinions overwhelms us. Insight and meaningful content elude us in the floods of data to be processed, and we often compensate by embracing media that displays content for a fleeting interval before it dissolves into digital compost. The stream is renewed and the next sample erases any guilt over missing the last. The urgency that we may miss something propels us to hold the digital device in one hand while we do life with the other. Checking the screen becomes a habit, like breathing.
In a world filled with living people and unlimited possibilities for interaction we embrace the digital weightiness of our friend’s lunch choice as life-impacting news and post an emoticon reflecting approval or disapproval. Are we really communicating? Do our words carry any weight?
God needed a writer for an important assignment, and He selected an elderly man who had been exiled by the Roman government to the barren island, Patmos, in the Aegean Sea. The writer, John, was the last of the twelve men who had accompanied Jesus during His earthy ministry. By this time John’s platform of influence included some loyal followers, but John’s message ruffled official feathers. His writing style was down-to-earth, and he shared the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. Truth offends those who do not believe and accept it.
What was John’s assignment?
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” Revelation 1:10-11
God had a message to share with mankind, and John’s job was to capture the images in words that might convey meaning to his readers. If you’ve read the book of Revelation you may give John a one star review as his difficult to understand descriptions have triggered countless squabbles among scholars. John, the human chosen to see and relate things no one else has yet experienced, did his best writing by allowing his personal experiences and vocabulary to flavor the report. The work stands as a testimony to God’s grace of working through imperfect and limited humans to compile His perfect and limitless Word.
John’s behind the scenes access included an invitation to God’s throne room described in Revelation 4. The door in heaven was opened and a voice invited John to “Come up here…!” John’s first vision was the throne, and his senses were overwhelmed by the majesty of the One who sat on it.
John described God and the creatures who attend Him. The writer’s words make the point that God is in charge. God is the center of the action, and He is the one who receives the praise and adoration. John recorded the words of praise resounding in that place.
And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.” Revelation 4:8
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” Revelation 4:11
Those words I understand. No matter the circumstances of my life I can rest on the truths that God is in control, God is holy, God always does right, and God’s ways of doing things are far beyond my understanding. He alone is worthy of my praise and adoration. His throne standing in heaven will continue.
Maybe John didn’t do such a bad job of writing after all? What do you think?