Friday, May 18, 2007

Pictures

My refrigerator is an art gallery.

It's been this way for almost a decade now. Both of my girls love to draw and paint pictures, and they're great artists. I know what you're thinking: "Okay Dad, everybody thinks their child is a great artist." It's true, parents tend to be a little subjective in this area. But seriously, these two really aren't bad. I look forward to what they will bring home from art class or up from the basement playroom where we keep the file cabinet full of crayons, markers and water colors.

I especially love the stuff they make just for me. I have cards, notes and lots of pictures on everything from construction paper to Popsicle sticks to rocks, and quite a few randomly-shaped pieces of paper retrieved lovingly for them from the discard pile at the office by a certain wonderful church secretary. Sometimes I'll open a book that I haven't looked through for awhile and find one of those small pieces of paper marking a place with a picture of a stick version of me smiling and holding hands with a smiling little stick person. I love those because I know they were drawn to send me a message, and I like what it says.

Actually, some of those simple pictures mean much more to me than the increasingly difficult projects they do at school. Don't get me wrong- those projects are beautiful and I am both proud of their achievement and impressed with their developing talent. But when that talent is mixed with their heart- even if it's just a couple of stick people smiling and holding hands- then, I am captivated.

I have heard more than one person say, "I don't know what to say when I pray," or "I'm sure God has better things to do than listen to me." As far as I'm concerned, statements like these just don't make sense when I think about those pictures. Complex prayers are fine, but they aren't necessary to capture God's attention any more than the complex art projects are for my daughters to capture mine. And you may think God has better things to do than listen to you, but then again, you're not God, are you?

"In him (Christ) and through faith in him (Christ again) we may approach God with freedom and confidence." -Ephesians 3:12 (New International Version)

Did you catch that? If you have faith in Jesus, you can come into the very presence of God and be confident that He is glad you are there. (For more on this, see Ephesians 1:5-6)

In a way, our prayers are like those pictures. If our hearts are attached to them, it doesn't matter whether it is a complex "project" designed to go into great detail or a simple message, like a couple of stick figures. Especially if that message is saying "I Love You."

In Him We Live,

Jeff

2 comments:

fred said...

Couple of things:

Number One: What if you could showcase your own art on blank postage stamps? Would that bring a revival to the written letter?

"I'm bringin' snailmail back!"

Number Two: I've literally been in the place of having no clue what to pray for.

I love what Paul writes in Romans 8: "...the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."


GLORY!

Cheryl said...

Just wait until those pictures on the fridge are done by your grandchildren. Same stick figures - and the love seems to be doubled!!! I put up all of them, well, except the one where Abigail thought that I needed LOTS of make up ?????