Just a piece of paper

Life is made up of paper. There is an oft used phrase, “we are buried in paper.” Office desks are piled high with it; perhaps it is a legal brief, or some couple’s divorce papers, or the IRS mailing you a delinquent notice.

More room for paper!

More room for paper!

Paper. We cover our walls with it, wash our faces and counter tops with it, clean up after baby with it ~ and throw it away. Much paper is discarded and eventually will become part of an overloaded landfill.

But some papers are beautiful and thoughtful ~ and treasured: birthday cards, sympathy cards, get-well cards. Other papers we hold onto for life: birth cirtificates, Social Security cards, passports, marriage licenses.

Our family has some papers that we have to keep, but they don’t bring us tears of joy to look at them. Instead they stab our hearts and make them bleed. You see, we hold what remains of our son . . . his “personal effects” after his tragic death. We have treasured pictures, cards, and mementos, and now we have his death certificate forced upon us. It is a piece of paper we would never choose to own . . .  and never display.

It’s just paper. Or is it? The government sure places a high priority on its value. They require us to show it, sign it, notarize it, and pay for it. But the recordings of marriages, births, deaths and all other jots and titles of our lives, stored in photo albums and journals, are treasured because their memories bring joy and soothe our often aching hearts.

Got’s Word is recorded on paper too. It also has great value placed upon it. But we aren’t required to have it stamped or notarized to prove who we belong to ~ and its information is free. God knows us by name and even by the number of hairs on our heads, great or few, and He even has our names written on the back of His hands (Isaiah 49:16, paraphrased).

God is hoping we read His “paper” day after day so that we fall more deeply in love with Him every time we do. When we leave this old earth behind, we will leave all of our paper identity behind too. Perhaps some folks will briefly panic, but then smile. God’s system will beat our paper trail all to pieces. No worries. All glory.

~from “Shattered by Suicide”


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