The Paper Umbrella 

I love books. I have hundreds of them and Fionnuala is constantly encouraging me to have ‘book culls’ in order to free up some space in our already packed to the gills abode. A few years ago she bought me a Kindle which rarely leaves my side. I probably have another hundred or so books on it. Logical, rational minds would therefore conclude that the problems with book storage are a thing of the past. No more need for overladen book shelves when your library can be held on a pocket sized device. Right?

Er….wrong. Much as I try I cannot resist the lure of the second hand book store just around the corner from my work. It is a treasure cove of hidden literary gems where I spend many of my lunch breaks, wandering studiously up and down its aisles. Invariably I leave with a purchase much to the dismay of my long suffering wife. I am indeed a hopeless case.

Much as I love my Kindle and the many bonuses it brings to my reading experience (LED screen means I can read in the dark, new releases are usually cheaper than the hard copy version, highlighting option as opposed to underlining with pen) I can never totally sever my ties with holding an actual book in my hand; the feel of it, the smell of it, the taste of it. Ok I made that last bit up before you call the psychiatrist.

The same applies to my Bible. Or should I say Bibles as I have four different translations. I also have a Bible app but I never feel comfortable reading the Word off a screen. It just doesn’t feel right. It’s like having to settle for a Diet Pepsi when you asked for a Diet Coke. It will never hit the spot in quite the same way. Maybe it is the whole ‘tablets of stone and scrolls’ thing. I just can’t visualise Jesus standing up and reading from his I-Phone 8. Which of course he wouldn’t have anyway as that’s vain and materialistic.

I picked up my Bible this morning and, before I started reading, asked God to speak to me through his Word today. Before I had even read a word I got a picture of an open, upturned Bible. Over my head like an umbrella. The leather cover faced outwards and upwards shielding and protecting my head from the outside world. From temptation and the way the world wants me to lead my life. I felt safe there, protected from the pressures and distractions of everyday life.


Meanwhile the open pages of the Bible were showering words down onto my head. Words like love, hope and faith. God was refreshing my mind and my body with truth and light. I was underneath an umbrella but was being soaked by his grace. And it didn’t bother me in the slightest. God was speaking to, and refreshing me, before I had even looked at a page. I had benefited from his Word without reading a word of it.

I had to write about this immediately. God doesn’t send me many pictures so this was an event that I wanted to share with you all. And I hope it makes sense to you. The Word can be whatever you need it to be at any given moment. One day a shield of protection, the next a waterfall of grace. Or both simultaneously! All you have to do is pick it up and ask God to speak to you through it. For when you are picking up a Bible, you are picking up life itself. 

I would encourage you today to pick up a Bible and read it. You might do this every day anyway; you might have lapsed of late and feel a need to re-engage with the Word; or you might never have done so before. Pick it up, open it and read it. Even if it’s just for five minutes. What have you got to lose? Nobody needs to know. Just you and Him. Today. Now. I hope and pray it is a worthwhile exercise.

Hebrews 4:12 – ‘For the Word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates to even dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.’

What happened today when you picked up your Bible?

And if you didn’t pick one up how was your day anyway?

41 thoughts on “The Paper Umbrella 

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  1. What a beautiful image of Bible words showering down on your head! I love it! About the highlighting – my husband does the same thing. Even if he reads one of my books, he can’t control his love of highlighting or underlining. For me, if I read something a second time, I like to have a fresh experience without seeing what was important to me the last time!

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  2. I have the same problem as you — too many books, even though I have a Kindle. I don’t read the Bible, but if I did, I would definitely prefer to read an actual, real, hard copy Bible. It’s more sacred than an electronic version.

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  3. I absolutely love books especially old well loved ones. There was this story I heard once of sweet older lady who spent every day in God’s word. Her family wasn’t Christian and was often unhappy with her because she would bring up the Jesus subject every time they were together. When she died her grandson inherited her Bible and on every page were notes some explaining how she understood the passage, some prayers of thanksgiving, some prayers for needs, some prayers for her family, but many many more were about answered prayer. Through pages stained with ink and tears God’s word brought her grandson everlasting life! I want to live like that and have my children and grandchildren love God as much if not more than I do 🙂

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  4. I really enjoyed this post! Excellent! I, too, am a bit of a book hoarder. You are right, there is something special about holding a book in your hands. I can spend hours in book stores. I loved the imagery of His Word as an umbrella. I mentored young ladies and I tell them the same thing; read the Bible everyday, even if its only for 5 minutes. When He tells us to not worry about what to say, for His Spirit will bring it back to remembrance, He can only remind us of what we already have in us. Right? I enjoy your blog Good stuff!

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  5. I love books as well! I have a Nook but I also love to have the actual book because, like you, I love the feeling of holding it in my hands!
    I loved my devotions this morning. I’m doing a study of the life of Paul by Beth Moore and this quote stuck out for me this morning:(talking about how we came to Christ) “the determining factor is not how exciting your conversion was but how excited you are now about you conversion!”

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  6. I love this visual and I’ve never thought of it that way before. I’m so glad you shared your experience and vision. Thank you!

    I have often toyed with the idea of getting a Kindle, but just haven’t gotten around to it. I made a deal with myself quite awhile ago, and it seems to have worked well, so I’ll share it with you too. I only buy a book if I know that I will re-read it. I make it a point to get a book from the library or borrow a copy from a friend if I haven’t read the book before. Then, and only then, if I know that I’ll want to re-read it once a year or maybe every few years {Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, American Gods, The Alchemist, Blue Like Jazz…books of that ilk come to mind}. As a result, I have a decent library of books that I can always turn to if I’m in need of something to read that I know I will enjoy.

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      1. Pretty good overall. My husband and I are on a tight budget, and the movers stole stuff from us, as well as break our furniture. I’m considering writing a life update post. Through it, God has continued to guide me, and I’m finding positivity in Him 🙂

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