7 Days, 7 Book Covers ... With Explanation (Part 1)
If you're on Facebook, you may have seen the "7 Days, 7 Covers" challenge. Friends are challenging each other to post a cover of a book that was meaningful or formative in their life each day for a week, with no explanation.
Sure enough, a book-loving friend tagged me in the challenge. A book lover myself, I've enjoyed sharing some of the books that have meant the most to me. But I thought I'd take it a step further here, and share why those books have been so meaningful.
Day 1: The God Who is There
My husband and I read this book by theologian D.A Carson for a class at our church in 2017. The class was called "The Story of Scripture." Though I've been a Christian nearly my entire life, I had never heard God's Word presented in such a comprehensive, cohesive manner from beginning to end as I did in that class.
And that's why I loved The God Who is There. From Genesis to Revelation, Carson explains why the Bible is not just a collection of mismatched, confusing content, with the Old and New Testaments having little to do with each other. (If many Christians are honest, it can often feel like that!) The Bible — reality itself — is a coherent story, complete with a plot, a conflict and a resolution. The Scriptures contain no meaningless parts. If you understand God's story, the connections become clear.
I still love studying individual books and chapters in the Bible. But for anyone wanting to switch it up and study God's Word as a whole, I highly recommend The God Who is There.
Day 2: The Death of Ivan Ilyich
I read this 1886 novella by Leo Tolstoy as part of a literature class in college. As is the case for many people, my college days remain in my memory as a blur, so to be honest, I don't remember as much about this book (or many of the books I read in that class) as I would like.
But one thing I distinctly remember is sitting in my dorm room and sobbing over the final pages of The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Inside the head of the dying protagonist, I was bluntly confronted with what it is like to face one's own mortality without Jesus Christ.
When the hope of eternity is absent — when there is no understanding of the purpose of life or the meaning of death, death is confusing, painful, isolating and terrifying.
And that's something that is important for Christ-followers to understand. How can we not share the hope that we have?
Day 3: The Chronicles of Narnia
Perhaps I'm biased, but it's hard to imagine any childhood being complete without The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
Few other books fed my appetite for imagination and adventure as well as these treasures. From stepping through the wardrobe for the first time, to sailing on the Dawn Treader, to running "further up and further in," I lived through Narnia's characters countless times.
The magical thing about C.S. Lewis' beloved series is that it stirs a longing in children for adventure beyond their own world. Who knows how many millions of young readers have searched for a portal to an alternate universe in the back of their closet — I know my friends and I did.
Eventually, you grow up enough to understand that finding a magical land in a closet or a field or a forest is impossible. But the longing for something more is still there. And that's what makes the Narnia books so special.
C.S. Lewis, an adult convert from atheism to Christianity, understood this. He famously said, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
We humans weren't made to exist solely as we do now, in a world full of sin and sadness and separation from God. We were created for something more. Something magnificent. Something eternal. The Chronicles of Narnia awakens that knowledge in young children. And when they grow old enough, they find themselves pointed toward Heaven, as I was.
Check back for Part 2, where I'll explain my book cover selections for days 4-7 of the Facebook challenge.