kids portray clearly the affinities of our human nature. Karina is sitting on the couch holding 5 or 6 of her dearest stuffed animals and one doggy styled backpack on her back…oh, and her favorite blanket. Things are bursting out of her arms, she’s tangled in the blanket and starting to lose her balance. should she let go of one of her precious critters to save herself? the attachments are too strong and she can’t bear to let anything go…so she rolls off the couch right onto her head where the harsh reality of the consequences demand her attention.
How foolish and silly it all looks, and yet we are much the same with our own “hidden” attachments. The consequences don’t appear that great for a while and we appear to manage holding on to all the things we want in our lives…meanwhile God sees what we really need and what we were made for and patiently draws us towards himself.
God’s blessing and provision doesn’t come as a result of our hard work. God’s provision comes as a result of God’s generosity and hard work is the small part he asks of us in return. Work teaches us something more about the process through which he provides so that our gratitude can be more sincere and come from the heart.
Why does it seem to be that only in our pain and suffering that the image of Christ in our hearts grows more radiant and compelling? Why does the splendor of His beauty become illuminated in our troubles more than in our blessing or success? Is it connected to the fact that he was called a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief even in prophecy? Is this perhaps why He made it so abundantly clear that he never promised to lead us away from suffering but rather right into the heart of it? Is it because that’s where he resides as one of his most familiar places? And how can we truly know a person if we don’t spend any time where they live?
from journal some time in 2008:
Why is the deepness and solitude of the night the mother of most of our children as artists (at least many of us)? The sights, sounds, and moments of inspiration in the day find their true depth and meaning in the quiet reflection of night where we carefully unravel deeper sources of meaning that spin the threads of truth we hold on to…the things that move us beyond mere existence into passionate living. As I watch a tribute commemorating the top musicians of the world leaving their best on a stage before the eyes of man I am struck by how clearly different are the things that fuel their passions (top 20 Grammy award performances).
I am stirred with passion again to reflect the exceeding beauty and grandeur of my Lord and King to the eyes of man…something so impossible to achieve and yet the only truly worthy pursuit as an artist *. In this endeavour will we know his delight and on this ground is the battle waged with the enemy who would seek to magnify our broken humanity to the point that it suffocates the joy of our inspired play with God. This enemy would have us believe that all the discipline and patience, all that labor and slow plodding development, and all the cost both to self and to family/friends who support us is not worth the meager yield we have to show.
How fragile many of us artists are and vulnerable to these messages from the enemy and from our own heads. But God has given me a secret weapon in the form of my wife who tells me she doesn’t care what i show for it…even if it’s just scribbles it is something I have to keep alive and keep pursuing for the sake of God who gave me the gifts and for my own children’s sake. There is truth in this and I hear the voice of God speaking as if directly to me through her beautiful mouth. May my scribbles and scratches never cease until something of beauty finally emerges to wash the feet of Jesus.
* I’m not speaking here of literally depicting religious subject matter in my art but rather an attitude of devotion to God that is earnestly reaching for Him and responding to Him through my gifts. All attention this might generate is then an opportunity to turn that attention back to the preoccupying focus of my life which is the beauty of Christ.