Dear friends, I am living through what I can only describe (in the most flippant manner possible) a painful and traumatic experience at the moment. I am clearing out my bookcase, I am having a major purge!
Now, just in case you don’t know me well and think that is far too flippant, let me explain why this is painful and traumatic. I am a bit of a bibliophile, a bookworm. I enjoy books, I love reading (I always have). For me, it is almost impossible to walk past a second hand bookshop without popping in (just in case) and it always impossible to leave without having bought one “little treasure”. I believe Heaven smells like a second hand bookshop, perhaps not quite but, you hopefully get the picture.
Why the thinning down of my book stock? In September, I am due to start a new course of study and so I need to create room for new textbooks (there had to be a catch!). But, in the meantime the old needs to go!
Why do I find it painful? Okay, perhaps not painful, sad is the word.
Some books have been with me a long time. I used them in my early days as a lay preacher around some of the village churches in Leicestershire. They represent some happy memories.
Some books have been bought at a time of desperation. I needed fresh insight, fresh ideas and I bought a book believing it would have the answers I needed.
Some books were bought “just in case”. Just in case this comes in handy. There must be something useful in here.
I have had to go through my shelf several times and ask honest questions of each book – do I really need, am I REALLY going to look at this again?
At the moment, they are piled up on the sofa in my office. I am fighting the temptation to return them to the shelves! Fear not, they are going to be put to good use – one of our regional ministers is going to have them and sell to raise funds for Baptist Home Mission. I hope they bring joy to their new owners.
This all got me thinking about an image Jesus once used. He compared Himself to a vine and we are the branches. He then goes on to say;
And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. (John 15 vs. 2 – The Message)
For new growth to come, sometimes the old has to be cleared away. Just like my books. I cannot put the new in, until the old has gone.
Sometimes, for new growth to come in our lives God needs to clear away some of the old. That can be really painful and may even be traumatic. But, for the new growth to happen, it is necessary.
If this is where you are at the moment, I pray that God will strengthen you through His Grace and Mercy. I also pray that you will hold before you the Hope of the new growth to come.
May God bless you