The library in my hometown used to be a small school, so it had the same pale vinyl tile flooring and colorless walls we expected of schools in those days. “Institutional” describes the vibe upon entering the building. But just a few steps past the foyer and up the stairs stood the doorway to one of my favorite places in the whole world.
I savored every visit to that muted room. More books lined its walls than I’d ever seen in one place, and nothing was more marvelous than the knowledge that I had free access to every book in that building. I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge surrounded by his millions of dollars, but in my case, I was surrounded by books (which were far more valuable to me than dollars)!
Breathing deeply the dusty smell of old pages, sliding my finger across the spines, and silently scanning the shelves, I’d select books by their covers until the weight of my stack became unbearable. Then I’d choose my favorite red corduroy floor cushion from the pile and find a quiet corner from which to escape into the world of words.
There are three books from this library I clearly remember reading over and over again. One was a children’s encyclopedia of organization. I’m convinced that this book is largely responsible for the organizational skills I’ve relied upon throughout my life to spin all my plates. Another was a fictionalized account of a courageous Christian boy who smuggled Bibles into the Soviet Union. It inspired me to stand firm in my faith throughout public school. The third was a biography of a woman who endured a lifetime of suffering yet remained steadfast in her faith in Jesus Christ. Her story was a catalyst for my own pursuit of a life built on His sufficient grace.
Oh, how grateful I am for the blessing of growing up in a community with the means and motivation to provide the gift of this bountiful space and the books that helped shape me into who I am today and lay the foundation for my faith.
There’s another library I can’t wait to visit—God’s library. Did you know he has one? If you’ve ever wondered about heaven, your future, or the problem of suffering, a browse through the books on the shelves of God’s library can change your life.