Wait Until Then
I’ve been asked to blog about my books. So my plan is to give you three blogs in the next ten days or so, each telling you about one of my three books that have come out in 2007. The most recent of these, Tell Me about Heaven, I haven’t yet held in my hands. It’s supposed to arrive any day. Hopefully it’ll be here by the time I write that blog!
Wait Until Then, a thirty-two page big format picture book, was published in February. It’s a very short story, only two thousand words, about a boy who loves baseball, and his grandfather who played one year for the Boston Red Sox with Ted Williams. The two both love Jesus, love baseball, and have something else in common too, but I don’t want to spoil the story. I hope it will warm your heart. (Plus, if you’re not a big reader you can invest ten minutes and say, “Hey, I read a whole book today—did you?”)
Wait Until Then emphasizes, in story fashion, that according to God’s Word, the best is yet to be. We who love Jesus do not pass our peak in this life, nor do we reach it. Our peak, or its beginning, will come in the resurrection, not before. (Revelation 21-22) This life may be overshadowed by lost opportunities, but the life to come will restore so many of them and bring countless new and better ones. The New Earth will forever offer us opportunities to serve our Lord, behold God’s beauty in His restored creation, and go places and do things we rarely or never had a chance to do in this present world under the curse. So the best we enjoy here—great food and relationships and art and music and most of culture, including sports, I think—is a foretaste of what awaits us on the New Earth, when we’ll be without sin and death, and live with God Himself, beholding the Headwaters of Joy, and the Source of all the lesser streams of pleasure, at His right hand forever, as Psalm 16:11 says. (On the book’s final page I present for parents and grandparents the biblical basis for this, so they can explain it to their children.)
The realistic pictures in Wait Until Then, done by Doran ben Ami, are stunning. And the final picture of the book—don’t peek when you get the book; remember it’ll only take you ten minutes to get there from page one—will really move you and capture your imagination.
By the way, here’s some inside information most people won’t know. Ted Williams’s signature is on the baseball and so is Gramps’s. (Yes, these names that end with s have to have a second s after the apostrophe when it’s a possessive—only exceptions are Jesus and Moses. No kidding, check Chicago Manual of Style. So since my dog’s named Moses, I can say “that’s Moses’ bone,” but if your dog is named Spuds, you have to say—and if you don’t, copyeditors will come after you—”that’s Spuds’s bone.” Sorry. You should have thought of this before naming him Spuds.)
Okay, where was I? Yeah, the inside information about Wait Until Then. Since Gramps wouldn’t have signed the baseball “Gramps” when he played for the Red Sox, I had to give him a name. So I named him Matthew Franklin, after one of my grandsons. Matt is a Dodgers fan, and always wears a Dodgers hat (I’m not going to make it a possessive), as you see in the picture. He has to tilt his head up so you can see his eyes. Sometimes he sleeps with his hat on. Coincidently, Matt’s father Dan Franklin, who is one of my pastors, grew up in LA and is also a Dodgers fan. (I think Dan takes off his hat before going to bed; you can check with my daughter Karina to confirm this.) Part of their father/son bonding is a mutual dislike for the San Francisco Giants, who Matt calls “the bad guys.”
So anyway, if you look closely at pics of the baseball in the book, including the back cover, you’ll see the names of Ted Williams and…Matthew Franklin. In the book Nathan, the boy, wears a Dodgers hat, even though they don’t let you use the actual logo with the LA, so we used a D instead. (Red Sox fans will note that their hat isn’t quite right either, but that’s what you have to do because it’s so hard to get permission to use sports logos. Wouldn’t you think they’d want you to promote their team? I mean this isn’t a children’s book exposé of the steroid problem in Major League Baseball.)
Here’s a response to Wait Until Then that arrived last week. It’s written by a mom.
As we were getting ready to go to church this morning, our seven-year-old son informed me, “Last night was the best night of my entire life.”
I immediately desired an explanation, “Why was that?”
“Because,” he replied, “it's the first time I ever cried for joy."
“What happened?” I asked.
“Well, Daddy read me that book by Randy Alcorn,” he answered.
“Wait Until Then?”
“Yeah. And after he got done, I just laid in my bed saying the verses over and over again to myself. And I cried for joy.”
Well, when I read that email, I cried for joy too. I’m telling you, when you work hard on a book and then you get a letter like this, it makes everything worth it.
By the way, in my next two blogs I will show pics of my other grandchildren too, and attempt to make it look natural, like it relates to the book I’m talking about. :)
One other thing. Nanci and I have the privilege of seeing all the royalties from my books go to support missions groups and famine relief organizations, and many other ministries. The royalties from Wait Until Then all go to Joni and Friends, a wonderful ministry to the disabled. Check them out at www.joniandfriends.org.
Nan and I have spent rich time personally with Joni and her husband Ken, and we think the world of them, and those who work with them. JAF is a ministry worthy of support, an investment in eternity. What they do is close to God’s heart. I hope you take the time to see what they’re about. I’ll never ask you to give to our ministry. But sometimes I’ll encourage you to give to another. Joni and Friends is one of those.
Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12-14)
Today, look for someone you can help, who can’t repay you for doing it. Jesus said it is more blessed, more God-pleasing and happy-making, to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Like that little boy, giving will make you cry for joy.