Novels on the New Earth
I love a good story. I love how it envelops me in the plot or carefully peels back each layer of a character. I love following the strings that tie up family members through generations as the author weaves the tale. I’ve grown to appreciate classic literature from the likes of Austen and Brontë, as well as dip my toes into the world of fantasy, historical fiction, and even science fiction.
My to-read list grows larger as I scroll through my Goodreads account and snag another title for the future. I read through reviews and am reminded of so many classic and modern works that I want to experience for myself someday.
If I’m honest, I’ve found myself discouraged that I won’t get to them all. My time on this earth comes with limits after all. Of course life is more than books. I have children to teach and good work to do. Yet I’ve often wondered if on the new earth we’ll be able to read the stories we didn’t have time for. Will we enjoy the gift of the written word?
I don’t know whether or not the literature of this world will be around in the new one, but I have come to believe that a great deal of stories will be ours for consumption.
Sometimes when I let my mind wander, I imagine the kinds of novels that I will devour in the world to come. I wonder if perhaps I’ll hold the thick pages of a cloth-bound book that tells the tales of a spunky woman named Wilda, who spent her life not only raising children, but raising the hopes of every family member and friend she diligently wrote letters to each week. I’ll get to see the bigger picture, of how every care package, sticky note, and prayer she prayed was a catalyst for the comfort and encouragement God worked in the recipients’ lives. Better than any Hollywood feel-good movie, I’ll view the web that connected the lives of handfuls of people due to the persistence and obedience of one faithful, obedient woman.
I imagine picking up another volume on the shelf, this one sharing about a mom in the early 1900s, who battled chronic illness, yet relied each day on the Lord to continue to work and care for her children and home. I’ll discover her desperation and perseverance fueled by the God who carried her through the simple miracles of her everyday.
Another novel might whisk me away to the middle east, where it follows a single man who spent each day living, working, and loving the small community around him. I’ll skim through the graces that made up his life–the joys, the redemption, and the small beauties he saw each day.
I imagine bookcases packed full of tales throughout the ages. Some will make me laugh, others-cry, but each will move me far greater than the likes of Dickens, Tolstoy, or Dostoyevsky ever did. Because these novels, after all, aren’t fiction but true. See, Wilda was a real woman– one of many matriarchs in my husband’s family. Though I know a bit of her life, the stories I’ve heard only scratch the surface. The other men and women in those novels, I’ve never heard of, yet I’m convinced their stories are just as beautiful and life-giving because they were written by the greatest pen.
I can’t wait to see the big picture of the many saints who have gone before, both the ones who remain anonymous to me now, and the ones I’ve known intimately throughout my life. I hope to dive into the stories of the strangers I’ve passed while driving, over whom the Spirit prompted my heart to pray. I long to follow the trail of connections in these everyday interactions and see the beauty of God’s narrative on full display.
These novels don’t showcase the subjects, but the incredible author—the sovereign God who weaved redemption, beauty, and grace through countless ordinary days and heart-wrenching difficulty. This God wrote a million stories, and I’d need an eternity to even make a dent in the pile.
I won’t get to read all the novels I want to in my lifetime, but I’m quite certain I’ll get to hold the richest of literature in the life to come. I can’t wait to dig in.
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