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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Postcards (08/29/05)

TITLE: Postcards from the Past
By Brad Paulson
09/04/05


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In an old antique bookcase, at a bed and breakfast just north of Glacier National Park, I found a treasure. A leather bound photo album that contained postcards of the park from the forties and fifties. The owner of the inn said that they had stumbled upon the collection of postcards at an estate sale several years earlier. All of the cards had different senders and recipients, indicating that the person who assembled the collection was not the intended receiver, but more likely a lover of nature or photography. Arranged from oldest to newest the cards displayed the evolution of the automobile, fashion and hairstyles while the jagged mountains of Glacier National Park loomed unchanging in their perfect splendor. Some of the cards had yellowed, some were water stained, but God’s creation still held breath taking beauty that was impossible to ignore.

Feeling a bit nosy, I couldn’t help but remove a few cards to see what people had written. Aside from the usual pleasantries and greetings, every writer had made an effort to describe the feeling one has when in the presence of such a beautiful place as Glacier. It was the experience that people tried to pass on, not simply what it looked like. “Can you believe that I actually stood at the base of this glacier?” and, “I wish you could have been here with me,” were some of the notes I read. It became very apparent to me that the common denominator for all of the cards was, “I saw something spectacular, I was there, and I hope that through my experience you will develop a desire to experience this place the way I have.” The postcards, beautiful as they were, were not meant to be a substitute for the real thing. The intention was not to satisfy an appetite, it was to ignite one. These images and messages were not meant to simply document history, each one cried out, “I was there!”

Later that evening, I found myself reading from the Gospels. The message was the same. “Can you believe I was actually there? I was with Him, and I want you to know Him.” The writers wanted desperately for all of us to experience what they had the privilege of witnessing first hand. Not merely reading their words as a historical document, or trying to figure out why they did what they did or didn’t do. Their words represent an experience so powerful, that they were willing to give up their lives to make sure that you and I knew about it. Their hope was not to inform us, but to transform us.

In this busy world of impossible schedules and a multitude of responsibilities, it is easy to dismiss a postcard. A quick glance at the picture, speed read the note, and toss it in a drawer. That however, is never the intention of the sender. I know there are times when our personal Bible studies can be just as hurried. Try to dwell on the passion that first brought the ink to the paper. When we experience that passion, we experience the power of God’s word.


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This article has been read 961 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita Neuman09/05/05
Wow! I needed to read this! What a beautiful analogy - I'm going to buy a postcard and keep it in my Bible as a reminder.
Cyndie Odya-Weis09/05/05
love it! The Bible readings are indeed handled that way sometimes- we need to think of them as a treasured collection to be appreciated time and again.
dub W09/05/05
So true, when we went through my parents things, my wife discovered the collection of cards my mother kept, from the years of my travels - good and bad, a story saved on the back of a picture.
Genstacia Bull09/06/05
It warmed my heart. Well done!
janet rubin09/06/05
Yes, what a great analogy. Made me think.
Jan Warrick09/06/05
This is a GREAT article. Thanks for reminding me to slow down and experience what God wants me to learn.
Anna Meadows09/07/05
Thank you for a new thought. Nicely written!
Pat Guy 09/08/05
A great way to remind us to not mindlessly read God's Word but need God's Word.
Jan Ackerson 09/10/05
I like this a lot--especially the fact that you admitted to being nosy and reading the postcards (I'd have done that, too). Very good spiritual application, not too heavy-handed. The only thing I'd change is in the first sentence: you don't need both "old" and "antique." Nice work!