“I am afraid that your minds may be seduced from a single-hearted devotion to him by the same subtle means that the serpent used towards Eve. For apparently you cheerfully accept a man who comes to you preaching a different Jesus from the one we told you about, and you readily receive a spirit and a Gospel quite different from the ones you originally accepted.” (2Cor 11:4 Phillips)
Not a different Jesus. The same Jesus.
The paint is running on the canvas, yet we keep staring, content with the abstractness of the image. What once was clear and certain, now has swirls and wavy lines. But if we squint, we might see Him. Better yet, where are my spectacles? These glasses are old, out-of-focus, but that’s better than nothing. I think I can see His hand … maybe.
How long, Lord? How long until you make yourself apparent? How long until you wipe away the stains and put the colors back in place? Until you pick up the brush and put it in my fingers. Until you remix the paint.
I’ll eat the cake without the baking. I’ll hold the plate without the cake in it. I’ll assemble the ingredients … flour, baking powder, sugar, salt. I may even get out the bowl and a spoon to mix it. But standing at the counter, staring into what’s empty will not make a cake. Owning an oven will not turn it on.
Owning the canvas will not paint it. Owning the brush, knowing how to paint, having the instructions, having the talent for the artwork, will not cause the art I might create.
Owning a pencil does not write the story. Knowing the Author does not make me write. Owning a book does not make me read it. Having a car does not make me drive. Age factors into these. Maturity matters. Knowledge gained is only useful to one who has grown to a stature to use it.
What parent condemns a child for being unable? Correction is made for being unwilling. Do we lecture the child for their lack of knowledge? How dare you not know how to do this certain thing. Whose fault is the not knowing but ours for not teaching? And whose for not doing what we’ve gained in learning?
And who has our not doing, or not painting, our not baking, our not growing, who has our nots not affected?
It’s better than nothing. We’re okay with less. Kind of forgiven, a few sins we’ll omit. Mostly broken, not sure we can be whole again. The ingredients have spoiled, but let’s use them anyway.
Back to the canvas. Why is the paint running? Who can I blame for this mess that I’ve made? I am the closest, so I’ll point the finger. But one pointed outward, the rest aimed back at me lest anyone think I’ve let go of the pain. I’ll roll in the paint and ruin the canvas. Call it what just happened to me. Call it my error. Call me mistaken.
Call it nothing. Call it change. Blame it on the prices, on lack of paint. I can’t afford the ingredients. I am tired. I am weary. It’s been a long fight.
Did not the Artist create the canvas? Did He not put the brush in your hand? Did He not pay the price for the paint which you find ready to be used again? Was not He the one who made the subject? Did He not buy what you need for the cake? Did He not stand you up in the kitchen? Has He not written the words you create?
Has He altered since He wrote it? Did He change because the pressure just became too great? Is He less because of what others speak around us? Or is He even more through what we can say?
Own the book and tell the story. Bake the cake and share a slice. Paint the art and hang it front and center. A portrait, from the hands of many, the face of one Man, one unchanging God, one King forever, King of Kings, Jesus Christ.
Image by Юлия Зяблова from Pixabay
Suzanne D. Williams, Author