I received a special gift this weekend, along with a book that Billy Graham has just written, The Reason For My Hope. It is probably the last one from this incredible man of God, and I am stuck by how each paragraph, each sentence contains so much truth , insight and yes, hope for all of mankind, in spite of everything we see going on in the world today. To me it would seem as though he would be discouraged at what he has seen over his lifetime, but because his hope is in our eternal salvation, in God not in man, he is every bit as passionate near the end of his life as he was in the beginning of his ministry. He is an amazing blessing to the decade of people whose lives he has touched and to the generations that will follow.
The part that struck me this morning even as I was being uplifted by his words, was that I hadn’t read thirty pages when I had noticed two mistakes. Not in his message, not in his work, but typos! Typos, can you believe it? He has a great publisher, probably hundreds of people who have read this before the publisher took it to print, and yet here are these common errors seemingly obvious to me, that no one caught.
At first I thought, should I call someone, write them that these were there so that future printings would be perfect? Then I realized God was just showing me, once again, how I struggle with the fact that regardless of being saved, in spite of spending thirty years safe in His protection and love, I still struggle with imperfection. And I always will. I am imperfect. We all are. Save one, Jesus Christ, who came so that we might have eternal life and be accepted, with all our imperfections, into His Kingdom when we leave this earthly body and return home.
I always thought it was a good thing to be a natural proofreader, but sometimes it isn’t, unless it is your job. It makes me search words for the meaning that might be lost between the lines, a hanging participle that might cause someone to read something in a way other than what the author intended. Yet often this is just how God speaks to me in deeper ways, calling attention to the flaws I have asked Him to reveal in me that I might possibly improve on with some effort on my part and grace on His. I don’t want someone to read me wrong, so to speak. Or is it that I don’t want them to see my imperfections?
Today He has shown me that He doesn’t see my imperfections in the way I see them. He sees my heart. He sees the soul He gave me at birth and the life that I have lived trying to be true to Him and to myself. He does not proofread every moment of every day, every misstep that I have made, every wrong word that I have written or said. I sometimes can be so disheartened by getting something wrong that I miss His bigger picture for me. His love and compassion are always the meaning between the lines. His care for me goes far beyond my getting everything perfect. His joy in me is never undone by one wrong thought.
I thought I was not a perfectionist. I try to look for the good in people and in situations without judging the small mistakes, but I was wrong; being a proofreader is looking for perfection. I attributed this to a characteristic of God, but I was incorrect, as I so often am. We are made in His image, not He in ours. Nothing in His word says He is a proofreader, in fact much the opposite. We are flawed, imperfect, and we need Him to get through this life. He sent His perfect son to die on the cross for the mistakes we have made and will continue to make, just so that we can experience His love while we struggle through life on this earth and so we may one day join Him in eternity. End of story. I do not need to tell Billy Graham’s publisher there are flaws. If anyone knows that, it is Billy Graham. Perhaps God allowed those just for me to see. He’s like that, you know.