|The Bookworm by Ninidu|
I've always loved to read, and for the past few years I've been reading mostly romances. They may not always be realistic, but I find those guaranteed happy endings make me happy, too, at least for a time.
I wrote a blog entry titled "Addicted to Love" back in 2009, citing an article in the Washington Post. The article concluded that when times are tough, romance novels are a comfort.
This is definitely the case for me. Romances are an escape from real life, from boredom, from the terrible, heartbreaking stories on the news.
Then last week, Kristin's Lenten devotion told a story about Isobel Miller Kuhn. Kuhn was a devoted Christian and missionary to China and Thailand from 1928 to 1954. She loved romances, too. Here's what she said in her book, "By Searching."
I was a voracious reader of romantic fiction. Novels gripped me and were my favorite mental escape from trials and difficulties, or from an evening which had to be spent alone. ...
[One evening] I was deep in the excitement of the book, ... and it was one o'clock in the morning before I finished the book and took up my Bible for evening devotions. But I got no blessing from it. Never had the Bible seemed so drab and dull. When I tried to pray, the Lord seemed far away. It's just sleepiness, I told myself, and curled up for slumber.This made me think. Maybe instead of giving up desserts for Lent, I should have given up reading romances. Even though I've increased my Bible study and devotional reading this year, imagine how my faith could grow if I read the Bible for hours every day instead of trashy books.
But the next morning things were little better. God still seemed far away and the Bible stuffy and uninteresting. ...
Traveling into town by bus gave me time to think. What has happened to me, that the Lord seemed no longer real? ... Why had the Bible become insipid? I was alarmed. Sitting in the bus, I talked to the Lord about it in my heart.
"Oh Lord, what is wrong with me?" I prayed. "Why can't I sense Your presence now as I have lately? Why has the Bible become dry?"
"When a child fills her stomach with ice cream and soda pop," the Lord seemed to answer, "why does she lose her appetite for meat and potatoes?"
"Lord, do you mean the novel did that to me? ... Lord, if I promise to give up novel reading, will You come back to me? Will the Bible come alive to me again?"
"Try it and see."
From that moment, the Lord was real and present once more, and the Word took on new meaning. ... Did I find it hard to make this self-denial? Does one miss candlelight when morning sunshine is pouring in the window? No, I was richly repaid for this self-discipline.
What do you think?