The big, bad man driving the truck waved to the black pig.
The pig was scared, but he got in.
When the man in the red shirt waved to his friend, the pig tried to run away. But he couldn’t get out of the truck.
Then the bad man pulled up to the pig’s friends. “Get in,” he said, “Or I will hurt your friend.”
So the hen and the rooster and the duck and the dog and the cat climbed into the truck. And the man closed them in so they could not get out. They were all squished together in the back of the truck.
Filling our home with good, beautiful, and true literature is important to my husband and me. We strew books around our home at eye level, enticing young hearts and minds to crack open a book and dive in. Good books help us grapple with big questions, participate in valiant causes, learn from past moments, and see life from another’s perspective.
But listening from the other room to our Kindergartener “read” a book to his younger sister, I didn’t recognize the book they were discussing. From where I sat, it sounded quite ominous.
When I went into the room, I saw two little children sitting side by side on our couch, surrounded by pillows and books. The oldest was holding “The Happy Man and His Dump Truck,” a Little Golden Book classic by Miryam, illustrated by the inimitable Tibor Gergely. Far from being a dark tale of a scruffy, overbearing man forcing friends into a truck and kidnapping them, it is the tale of a happy man who thrills a group of farm animals by taking them on a joy ride in his dump truck. The plot is simple and straightforward, and it has earned a spot on the “Classics” shelf on bookshelves nationwide.
My son was trying his best to make sense of the pictures he saw as he shared the book with his sister. They were looking at the pictures, and putting words to what they saw. But without the ability to read the words, he missed out on the actual message of happiness the book holds. The pictures became ominous to him as he turned the pages.
All around us, in our lives and in our world, we see pictures that don’t make sense. God has provided His Words to provide context, meaning, and direction to what we see. Without those words, our hearts and minds have every possibility of interpreting what we see incorrectly.
Do you see things that don’t make sense today? Reading God’s Word provides direction, peace, and wisdom. When we read the Bible we see that there are people throughout it that have faced the same or similar life experiences that we have. We see the end results of wise or foolish decisions. We see the impact of character and a life well lived. But most importantly, we see that God is ever loving, ever faithful, ever wise, and ever sovereign.
The version that my son was telling my daughter was interesting and compelling. But if he wants to tell the tale accurately, he’s going to have to learn to read.
We all have to learn to read. Learn to read the Bible, learn to turn to it daily, learn to apply it in our everyday lives.
Is there an area in your life that you are depending on the pictures or reacting to the circumstances? Are you reading the pictures without knowing the words? Confusing scenes and circumstances make more sense when you look at them through the perspective of God’s Word. Take time today to pray and ask God what He has to say about your circumstance, and spend time reading the letter He sent you.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. —2 Timothy 2:15