Tangible proof

Posted on Wednesday 29 July 2009

In a little over a month I will have a new book out. So these days I’m finding myself on the firing end of the obvious question “So, what is that thing about, anyway?”
I know enough marketing to know that I should be able to answer this question in 15 seconds or less, in a way that makes you want to use the one-click feature on Amazon.com. But it’s hard to say in less than half a minute what it took nearly a year and 50,000 words to express. And after four books, I’ve discovered something else: I don’t yet fully know all that Treasured is about. Even months after the last word was typed, I am still discovering more of what it was I’d hoped to say, and some of it I will no doubt learn from you.
I am uncomfortable with my inability to easily express the “unique selling proposition” of a book I wrote, but earlier this week I watched a short video of an uber-famous, bestselling author talking with his publisher for five hard-to-follow minutes about his upcoming book, and was uncertain when he was done that either he, the publisher, or I understood its premise! (Then I breathed a short prayer of thanks that at least I do not struggle alone.)
Here’s what I know about Treasured. God reveals himself to us in many ways, ways that help us to know him intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. But the game changer – the no-other-god-did-it-like-this way He revealed Himself was incarnationally. He became somone, as the apostle John said, that our eyes could quite literally see and our hands could reach out and touch. The incarnation changed everything about the way man experienced God.
Because God entered the same flesh-and-blood world I inhabit, I can know, understand and experience Him through real, everyday things. Things in his book, like a fig leaf, or an olive branch. Like a golden bell or a scarlet cord. Like a bloodied piece of cloth or a smooth stone plucked from a river. “These keepsakes tell His story, and they help me to understand my own.”
Not only is God’s story full of these tangible treasures, my story is too. So things like my first, tiny Bible, a Dennis the Menace spoon, a sugar cube, a “holy” card, a handful of feathers and a small box filled with ashes are rich with meaning, too. Because “I don’t have a treasure box filled with mementoes of my walk with Christ. I have a life filled with them.”
His treasures and my own tell me that my God is a God who sees, who provides, who casts against type and who has a bigger plan. He’s a God who crafts new beginnings, who speaks in unlikely ways, who gleans joy from sorrow and who has defeated death once and for all.  There is so much glory and wonder in this world if we will only notice it. So much intricate beauty and so many details worth reveling in. One day He will change us – and this beautiful but broken world in which we live – into something new and shining and glorious. One day we will exchange our small box of treasures for His infinite one, and it will take forever to see what He has saved.”
“You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.” (Psalm 40: 5, RSV) 
PS I really DO want your help in more fully expressing the idea behind Treasured. So I’m asking, “What’s in your box?” In other words, what keepsakes or objects tell the story of your experience with God? You can “talk back” on the Facebook page for Treasured. I’d love to hear from you!


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