I love to read. I can barely remember a time that I did not have a book in my hand. As a child I would read whatever I could get my hands on; books were my friend. They entertained me, they informed me, they gave me a sense of comfort when I was alone. To this day I am a voracious reader.
I do have my favorite fiction authors. Grisham, Cussler, too many to list. And I read non-fiction all the time too. Often picking up subjects that I have read about in other books, just to let me learn something new. I read Art of War by Sun Tzu because I saw it mentioned in a book. I have read books about brain science, Tesla's biography and many other eclectic things just because. I love to learn. I love to pick up a new book and see what it will say to me.
Like I said, I have my favorite authors, but there are times when nothing new is available from them. So sometimes I just go to the library and start going through the stacks. Picking up this book and that to see what might interest me. The dust covers on most books give an accurate description of what will be found inside. But sometimes you get a book that has a plain wrapper on it, and then you never know what you'll find. Will it be an adventure, a thriller, a crime novel? Or dread of all dreads, will it be a romance? Sorry, just can't read those. So with no details or summary, it's a crap shoot, a gamble.
We are like a book. We see people and we look at their cover and try to nail down who they are by how they look. What is our first impression. Can we read them at just a glance?
I know I have misread people, made off the cuff judgments; sure I know who they are, but have been totally wrong. I looked at that dust cover and came to a wrong conclusion. We are more than what we look like, more than we appear.
I have always been more quiet and reserved. Never felt like I fit in anywhere. And I have always had low self-esteem. So I have always tried harder to look better than I felt and to present myself favorably. I have been called a snob because of that and get more dirty looks than you can imagine. I came to realize, through reading and research, that I am just an introvert. One who continues to care too much what others think, but still an introvert. My 'cover' may appear otherwise, but I am who I am. I am who God made me.
I was crafted by an artisan. I was, as it says in Psalms 139:14, "fearfully and wonderfully made". I was known by God before He formed me in my mother's womb (Jeremiah 1:5). I was not an accident, not a mistake. Regardless of the years I felt that I was an outcast, a misfit. Despite the times of doubt and the fear that I did not measure up, I am who God made me to be. As is every other person on this earth.
We come to flash judgments, we make faulty deductions. We do as that old cliche talks about and we judge a book by it's cover.
It's funny, we look at creation around us and marvel. We wonder at the stars and how incredible they are. We look at the mountains and oceans and see the power and strength. We see the delicate flowers and are in awe of their beauty. But we look at each other and seek the flaws. We look for the weaknesses. We search out those failings. Never thinking that we are looking at one made in the image of God. We err in our thinking. We think, that person is stupid. That person is stuck up. That person is ignorant. That person is so full of themselves. We don't see what is inside of them. We don't see what they have gone through. We don't see their hurt and pain and their fears and doubts. We judge by their covers, never bothering to see what is inside. We never bother to see who the Author is.
I know more than once I have picked up a book with no idea what was between those covers and come away not only pleasantly surprised, but I also learned something. I rarely give up on a book. There have been a few. Some just are too far out there for me, especially as a Christian. I am careful what I put my eyes to. But by and large I have found that I always learn something. If I keep looking. If I sometimes go past my first impressions and prejudices and look for what the author intended me to see.
I may find something delightful. I may find something intriguing. I may find something that changes my life. I may be surprised.
If I look under the cover.