This One Message

On the recommendation of a friend, I pick up News of the World, a novel by Paulette Jiles and finalist for the 2017 National Book Award set during the aftermath of the Civil War. As I follow a character who made a career of bringing newspapers to various communities and reading aloud the news of the world to live audiences who paid to hear whatever message he had to bring, I find myself mulling over a few lines.

The news reader, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, says this:

Maybe life is just carrying news. Surviving to carry the news. Maybe we have just one message, and it is delivered to us when we are born and we are never sure what it says; it may have nothing to do with us personally but it must be carried by hand through a life, all the way, and at the end handed over, sealed.

The idea captures my heart: Imagine if God sent you here with a message and that your whole life is this message from Him to the world. Imagine that you don’t know exactly what God is writing through the story of your life, but you know it’s in your heart, always forming and becoming more and more clear with each passing season. Imagine delivering this message. Imagine your mission is to live as honestly and faithfully as you can to carry this one message. More likely than not, this message will ring true across the generations–across time and place. And what is this news? This one message: God has loved you more than you could ever articulate. Through every joy and sorrow, He was writing a message of love.

Kidd’s idea that this message has nothing to do with you personally helps me think that this message extends far beyond our own little life or sense of self. God’s love is bigger than my world and my time in history. It’s a message that the messenger cannot fully contain. It’s a message that, like the message post-Civil War riders carried at any cost, matters more than the messenger. The message was the point. The rider just carried it.

The message is about Jesus, and I carry it as I can.

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