I’m continually amazed how God speaks to us through His Word. He uses my particular devotional for a day, which comes from a book I chose from many options, which is prepared well in advance by writers and publishers to speak to my particular need on an exact day and time through a book that thousands of others, who have very different needs, read at the same moment, and it speaks different things to them. It is beyond comprehension.
I love to try to figure out God by imagining how this happens. I have imagined a “Harry Potter”-like text, where as the book opens, words appear. The words are just for you, and when you close the book, they fade. Can you see it?
You pick up the devotional book; and as you open, it the words on the page appear, shift, change, until text clearly emerges—words that speak directly to your need at the moment. If you close the book and come back tomorrow, words appear again—different words to meet different needs. And if your spouse, child, or friend opens the book, the words for you have faded, and new words meant for them have appeared.
And perhaps the book talks to you, like the Hogwart’s Sorting Hat. It would reveal things that clarified direction in your life or spoke to a specific situation. Like the Sorting Hat senses student personalities and assigns them to a particular House, the “Sorting Book” points you to a particular path—a path chosen just for you. Wouldn’t that be cool? A sentient Sorting Devotional book with changing words, meanings for different times and situations, and a perfect path for you to follow in life? Wow! People would be standing in line to buy a book like that—much like they stood in line to purchase new releases of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter adventures.
But wait! There IS a Book like that. The pamphlet or book you use for your personal devotions draws from that BOOK! The Bible is that Book! The book isn’t sentient. It’s God, the Author of the Book, the Living Word! Jesus! And God speaks to our hearts, personally, individually, any moment of the day in any situation. When we turn to The Book, we find wisdom and guidance. God’s Holy Spirit helps us see the Word and words in light of our momentary need, providing comfort, encouragement, direction, and insight. And God’s Holy Spirit provides illumination for our path—our life path. And God has a complete plan for our lives; His Book has already been written. We are walking it out. . . not as characters, because we have choice and free will. But when we use The Book as a guide, we are walking out His Perfect Plan for our lives.
The Hogwart’s Sorting Hat is only for certain times, certain decisions, and certain people. It is a tool that is locked away except for special occasions. But God’s Book is never locked up. It’s available always. The Sorting Hat has occasionally made mistakes, but God never makes a mistake.
You are not a mistake. Your life is not a mistake. God has a plan for you. And He will speak that plan and purpose into you if you listen and follow. And because His Word is living, it may come to you through The Bible, a devotional, a sermon, a word from a friend, a line from a story, or any myriad of ways. You will know because the Holy Spirit will quicken it to your heart. And you will be able to receive that Word and respond accordingly.
Our imaginations are wonderful gifts. And God has planted in the hearts of many the ideas for stories that carry us off to magical worlds. But nothing compares to God’s plan and His story for us. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” NLT 1 Corinthians 2:9
So open The Book or a devotional, and wait with the same anticipation you might if the book you were opening was “magical.” Because God’s Word is magical and mysterious, in the best possible connotation of those words.