No Longer an Orphan

Monday, March 28, 2011

About a year and a half ago, I responded to a call for submissions for a book of devotions based on well-known works of fiction. I submitted my samples approximately a week before the deadline and received a response saying that the publisher had already filled all its slots.

Barbour Publishing just released the book. Book Lovers Devotional contains sixty readings, and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for short devotions and loves books. Two of the devotions are based on the same novels I chose for my two samples: not surprising considering the types of fiction Barbour wanted to cover. The devotion about Anne of Green Gables uses the same theme I used, while the devotion for Pride and Prejudice takes a very different approach.*

Since my sample devotions were written to meet Barbour's particular requirements and are unlikely to be suited to a different paying project, I have decided to use them here. I'll start with Anne of Green Gables and save Pride and Prejudice for another day.

* * *

Anne Shirley longs for a home, and she believes she will find it at Green Gables. But it is all a mistake. Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert want a boy to help around the farm, not a girl to help around the house. When Anne realizes they are going to send her back to the orphanage, she is devastated. "'I might have expected it,'" she says. "'Nobody ever did want me.'"

At the beginning of Anne of Green Gables, the reader meets an eleven-year-old girl who has spent the last few years as an unpaid nanny. Then she comes to live with the Cuthberts, and everything changes.

Fortunately for Anne, shy Matthew is enchanted with her from the beginning. Aided by Marilla's own compassionate nature, he persuades his sister to let Anne stay and share their home. But it takes much longer for straight-laced Marilla to let the orphan into her heart.

Anne's quick temper and lack of common sense do not endear her to Marilla. The girl's many exploits range from breaking her slate over a fellow student's head to taking a dare that ends with a fall off a roof and a broken ankle.

But Anne also has a generous and forgiving nature. She will do anything for those she loves, from sharing her favorite candies to giving up her dream of going to college. Early in the book, Marilla asks Anne if the women she lived with before were kind to her. Anne replies, "'Oh, they meant to be--I know they meant to be just as good and kind as possible.'" Even though they had treated her as a slave, she looked for the good in them. These traits eventually win Marilla over.

By the time tragedy strikes, Anne's and Marilla's love for each other helps them deal with their loss. Anne of Green Gables shows us the value of belonging to a family where we are loved.

Unlike Marilla's love for Anne, God loved us from the beginning. We don't have to win Him over. If we know His Son, we are part of His family. When we get ourselves into trouble, God forgives us. And when trials come, Christ holds us up, comforting and strengthening us. We are not orphans but children of God, and that makes us members of the best family of all.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. Galatians 3:26-27 (NIV)


* In case anyone gets the wrong impression, I am NOT suggesting that the writer borrowed material (or even uncopyrightable ideas) from the devotions I submitted. The nature of the project made it inevitable that several people would independently use the same works of fiction and select the same themes from those works.

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