We are all familiar with the idiom, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” That is good advice in so many ways. The prophet Samuel thought outward appearance was a good indication of the person God wanted him to anoint as king to replace Saul. That is, until God told him, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:6-7). I’m glad pastors aren’t chosen because of their height! And that serving God isn’t limited by age or smarts or good looks or gender!
But I learned a lesson recently about book covers – in particular book titles. I worked the night shift for the better part of a year when we lived in Wisconsin. It was grueling, not something I’d care to do again. Around that time, someone gave me a book they’d read, “God Works the Night Shift,” probably thinking it would inspire me. Truth be told, I was so tired that I put in on my nightstand and the only time I ever picked it up was when I dusted. When we moved to Hawaii, I gave lots of things away, including that book.
But the title has stuck with me over the years, in part because it is a significant theological statement about God, in part because one of my go-to Bible verses when I have trouble falling asleep is Psalm 4:8, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” I’ve been praying that Psalm a lot in the midst of the pandemic! I lie down, tired and feeling ready for sleep, and that is when the troubling thoughts rise to the surface. There are so many things I can worry about, and I come by worry honestly as the daughter and granddaughter of some great worriers. Somewhere in the midst of the anxious thoughts, Psalm I breathe that prayer in and out and I do sleep in peace, giving those anxieties to God.
I mentioned that book title in passing in a meeting a few months back. It caught someone’s attention and that person purchased the book. And here is the kicker. That person mentioned the book title recently as being reassuring to her, and said she’d purchased the book. I asked how it was, and she said, “the title was better than the book.” We got a laugh out of that! Carbonated holiness in action.
I am thankful that God can use something as simple as a book title to teach a lesson. And I do hope that what is on our insides is better than the cover and not the other way around.
Lie down in peace tonight ~ Anne