“The Book That Would Understand Me”

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Emile Caillet (1984-1981) served as a professor for many years at Princeton Seminary. He was born in France and received an education that had no place for God. He was 23 years of age before he saw his first Bible.

While a soldier in WWI, Caillet was wounded and spent nine months in a hospital. Afterward, he returned to reading, “but they were no longer the same books. Neither was my motivation the same motivation. Reading in literature and philosophy, I found myself probing in depth for meaning. During long night watches in the foxholes, I had in a strange way been longing—I must say it, however queer it may sound—for a book that would understand me.”

However, Caillet said he knew of no such book, so he began to write one for his own use. During his reading, whenever he read something that spoke to his inner condition, he would copy it in a leather-bound book that he always carried with him. He said, “The day came when I put the finishing touch to ‘the book that would understand me,’ speak to my condition, and help me through life’s happenings. A beautiful, sunny day it was. I went out, sat under a tree, and opened my precious anthology. As I went on reading, however, a growing disappointment came over me. Instead of speaking to my condition, the various passages reminded me of their context, of the circumstances of my labor over their selection.”

One day, his wife was given a Bible, and she gave it to her husband—a book he before had refused to have in their home. “I literally grabbed the book and rushed to my study with it. I opened and ‘chanced’ upon the Beatitudes! I read, and read, and read—now aloud with an indescribable warmth surging within. I could not find words to express my awe and wonder. And suddenly the realization dawned upon me: this was the book that would understand me!”

He prayed to the God of the Book that night, and said, “The God who answered was the same God of whom it was spoken in the book.”*

* “The Book that Would Understand Me” triablogue.blogspot.com. This quote originally appeared in “Eternity Magazine,” 1974.

Taken from . . .
Renewed by the Spirit: 365 Daily Meditations
by Ralph I. Tilley
copyright © 2016 Ralph I. Tilley
(May be copied for noncommercial purposes,
not to exceed 500 copies.)

Author: Ralph I. Tilley

I joyfully identify with the long history of the orthodox, evangelical stream of the Church. Theologically, I am a conservative. On issues of secondary importance, I will not quibble with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I would hope I have no doctrinal biases; however, I realize that is a practical impossibility: “Now I know in part.” You can read more on the About page.