I like to write letters to dead people.
I can say anything I want without the risk of miscommunication or misunderstanding.
Writing a letter forces me to articulate some thoughts I didn’t know I was thinking.
Recently, I wrote a letter to James, the half-brother of Jesus.
A while ago, I had Mary and Martha write letters to each other. Putting myself in their shoes helped me see things with fresh insight.
Several years ago, I wrote a missive to Amos, the Old Testament prophet.
Dear old Amos was tending his sheep and trimming his sycamore trees one day when God called him to deliver some scathing words of judgment to the nations.
I grew up around lots of good farm folks, so in my imagination I see Amos as an older man in bib overalls. He doesn’t have a seminary degree, but he’s a faithful member of the church in town. Amos is a salt-of-the-earth citizen who loves God, his neighbors and the land. He obeys God’s call and goes out to announce judgment on Israel’s elites. He has to say some tough things to people who don’t appreciate it. They refuse to heed his warnings, but Amos the farmer warns them anyway.
After reading his book, I wrote him a letter.
Were you anxious to get back to the farm after all that prophesying? You delivered so many words full of condemnation and lament and warning. Did it take a toll on you? After all, shepherds are used to long and lonely days of quiet out on the range with no one to talk to but sheep. Was it a hard task, to be obedient to the call of God to speak His words to rebellious nations? But you did it, without arguing or procrastinating. You just did it. I bet you were oh-so glad to complete the task and get back to the farm.
I have marked many favorite lines from your book. I especially like that you ended with some hopeful words, much needed after the litany of doom and gloom. I’m sure it was a relief for you to sign off on a good note, using words like “raise up”, “repair”, and “restore”.
I guess it’s goodbye for now, Amos. I probably won’t be back for a while. You are an Old Testament minor prophet, and you know what that means — not the most popular of devotional readings. Thank you, dear sir, for being faithful to the Lord and obedient to His call. I admire you for standing up in a God-less culture and not backing off when they tried to shut you down. You spoke in your own gritty way on the Lord’s behalf. You said what had to be said, plain and simple, with no apology.
I hope you were able to return to your farm in peace. Blessings to you, brave trimmer of trees and courageous keeper of sheep.