The Non-Fiction You Can’t Ignore
Novels have always been entertaining for me. You could look back over 20 years of vacations with our sons and you would see at least one picture in every year where three of us are lined up on the sand with books in hand! I love great stories. While I must discipline myself to read professionally or to read non-fiction, novels are a delight. I can imagine the scenes, the characters, and immerse myself into the stories.
Last weekend I started a book that I had been saving for months. After 150 pages, the characters were interacting in a fictional world that too closely paralleled my own experience. A baby died. The medical personnel seemed oblivious to the pain of the parents for whom the world stopped spinning. This was fiction, but it sounded too similar to a day when I walked into a NICU years ago, saw a baby with tubes and electrodes and drains in every imaginable place. It took me back in time to the broken, shaking shoulders of a couple who watched their baby die. I closed the book. I told my wife, “The entertainment value of this just died. I can’t read this. It’s too close to home. I have seen that same scene play out too many times.”
That’s the beauty of fiction. Closing the book, ignoring the rest of the story costs me nothing. It’s not true, not real. It’s a fabricated story, so at any time, I can simply walk away from it, ignore it.
Sometimes we treat the Bible as if it’s something we can ignore. Certain commands, certain values, certain predictions and promises bother us, so we just close the book as if it’s fiction. But the Bible is God’s revelation about what has been, is, and will be. It’s his command, not his suggestion. Life will not change because we ignore His instructions. We will not find the relief for which we hope. We simply delay the inevitable when we will be compelled to deal with those truths, those commands, those promises. I don’t like vaccinations, but I need them; I don’t like discipline, but I need it. And sometimes I don’t like what God’s Word tells me. It makes me uncomfortable, makes me change my behavior or my attitudes. But those instructions are from the Lord of the universe, the one who gave His life to rescue mine.
I may close my book when the story gets slow or offensive or painful. But the Bible is NON-fiction that I cannot ignore. At some point, I’m going to regret ignoring the truth.