Have you ever had some small experience that just felt like an extra little hug from God? We know how much He loves us, first of all, by the gift of His son Jesus for our salvation, and also through His daily provision and protection, but sometimes He just surprises us with some little, extra-special blessing that says, “I know the desires of your heart, My child, no matter how big or small, and you are special to me, so here—enjoy this little treat!”
That happened to me yesterday. My sister-in-law Dolores called and said, “Your 60th birthday is this year and Craig and I want to do something special for you in honor of that. Next Saturday we are taking Mom up to Leah’s (their daughter) to see the new baby and we wondered if you would like to go along. If you do, we want to take you out to lunch, as well, and to the Wade Center Museum at Wheaton College to see Tolkein’s desk!”
At this point you may be thinking, “Huh? Tolkein’s desk? What’s that?”
Let me explain… JRR Tolkein wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, as well as several other great works of literature. He has been my favorite author since I was sixteen—almost forty-four years ago. I have read his books over and over again—at least thirty times, I would say, since for decades I read them once a year. I consider him a genius and have often said if I could write just one-tenth as well as Tolkein I would feel like I could really write. Last year when my brother Craig told me they had seen, and even touched, the desk where he wrote The Hobbit and much of The Lord of the Rings, I was in awe.
Now they were offering to take me to see it, as well. Tears came to my eyes, and as I was telling Bob about the invitation after I hung up, I got all choked up.
“Why are you so excited?” he asked. “It’s just a desk.”
“Well,” I tried to explain in terms my wannabe cowboy would relate to, “if you were able to see and touch John Wayne’s cowboy hat and boots, wouldn’t you think that was pretty cool?”
Actually my feelings ran much deeper than that. First of all, I was very deeply touched that Craig and Dee would even think of doing such a nice thing like that for me. That in itself was enough to make me cry. Secondly, it was Tolkein—as a writer and as a fan, my literary hero! And third, it felt like a warm embrace from my Heavenly Father.
The timing of this invitation was incredible and I knew without a doubt that the Lord had especially planned this for me as just a little token of His personal love for me. Just the night before, we had been entertaining guests, missionaries to Spain. As we sat around the table they were telling us of a trip to England where they had seen John, Charles and Susannah Wesley’s home, church and graves, and Charles Spurgeon’s pulpit. As they were talking, the thought of Tolkein’s desk and how much I would love to see that suddenly entered my mind. I almost said something about it aloud but I didn’t, thinking they might think it strange that I would put the desk of a writer of fiction on the same level as the pulpit of a great preacher like Spurgeon. But still, for several minutes the thought lingered in my mind about how much I would love to see Tolkein’s desk.
Now, barely eighteen hours later, out of the clear blue sky, came this little desire granted! It gave me goose bumps! I felt like the Lord’s arms were wrapped around me, and He was whispering in my ear, “You see? I know even the smallest desires of your heart and I care about them. Enjoy this little blessing as a love-gift from Me!”
Our Father’s love is so personal. It is not just that “God so loved the world…” but God loves me as an individual. Out of all the billions of people on this earth, all the desperate needs and urgent prayers coming before His throne, that He gave thought to this little inconsequential desire of mine blows me away. It felt like a hug and a kiss and a reassuring whisper in my ear.
JRR Tolkien was just an ordinary man, albeit with a brilliant mind. He was a Christian by all accounts, and his writings are amazing and entertaining, but on a spiritual level they certainly don’t rank up there with Scripture or even books about Scripture. If I am this excited about seeing his desk, I cannot imagine how thrilled I would be to walk where Jesus or His apostles walked, touch the things that they touched, see the views that they saw. I doubt that I will ever go to Israel in this life or follow Paul’s journeys through the Mediterranean, but I can look forward to actually seeing and talking to and being with Him and the great heroes of the faith themselves throughout eternity.
The Bible tells us that every good gift comes from our Father. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) He loves us and delights in giving gifts to us. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11) What a blessing to be His child and to have a real, personal relationship with Him!