Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A story to remind us what we may have forgotten

It’s Sunday, and the pastor is choking back tears as he tells us about the day he sat in an orphanage on his newest daughter’s bed, and wondered who would adopt the other children.

And then his wet eyes light up and he raises his hands as he reminds us that our care for orphans mustn’t be motivated by guilt, or what’s trendy, but by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This Gospel reveals the Father’s tender heart for the orphans who flipped their middle finger to the Father, bit his hand that fed them, and kicked and screamed at the One who loved them most.

We’re the orphans who disowned the Good Father.

So the Father disowned his Son, that we might become children of God, redeemed, justified, re-created: adopted.

And now we, the adopted ones, take God’s family name as our own, and are co-heirs with the Son who will inherit all heavenly things.

Wild, intoxicating, extravagant grace.

But this idea that we’re adopted, it’s not big enough to describe what God’s done.

Because when we become his children he puts his seed in us, so that we start to look like him. Like biological children, we begin to want the things he wants and do the things he does.

Have you, like me, forgotten this power of God to make our hearts beat with his?

I’ve a story to remind you.

Andrew, he’s just moved to a new city with his wife, and they’re lonely. They’re wondering why God’s brought them there because it turns out they won’t be working the job they thought they’d work. Not this season, anyway.

So they’re looking for satisfying jobs and new friends. They’re trying push through the discouragement, make sense of the newness and the loneliness, and serve God where he’s put them.

And Andrew, he’s praying,

“Lord, who are you wanting me to connect with? Why am I here?”

One day he and his wife are sitting in church watching a documentary about their city. The documentary features artists—musicians, painters, composers, and fashion designers—who love their city and want to make it beautiful.

The filmmaker is a Christian who wants the documentary to illustrate how all of us, with our unique giftings and idiosyncrasies, have the same soul cravings: to know and be known, to live a life that means something, and to live forever.

One of the artists, we’ll call him Drake, has angst in his voice when he’s interviewed. It’s raw pain that spills out earnest and hungry as he wonders what God is like, and explains his desire for purpose and love — intimacy with his creator.

And Andrew, he leans over to his wife and says with conviction,

“I need to meet this guy. This is who I need to be hanging out with.”

Andrew is an artist. His soul quivers with life when he makes something meaningful out of something meaningless, something whole out of broken parts, and something beautiful out ugliness.

And he knows in his creative soul that if he finds the artists, he’ll find the city’s heartbeat.  These are the dream-chasers and culture-shapers; the ones who want to send life and beauty pulsing into the streets and charging through people’s veins. And just think: what might these people do to a city if they opened their hearts to the source of all Life and Beauty? How might the Creator use the Created Ones as vessels of his Divine Life that makes all things new?

But Andrew’s city is big, and how to find the heartbeat of a thriving metropolis? So he goes on with life. He finds a new job, gets into a routine, and three months later decides it’s time for a haircut.

He’s thinking he’d like to look like his grandpa did back in the day. But who had that sort of hair-cutting skill? That was the question.

Thank goodness a young guy, we’ll call him D.J., came to the store Andrew manages. Because D.J.’s hair was fly. Like, grandpa-back-in-the-day fly.

Andrew and D.J. hit it off, and Andrew discovered D.J.'s roommate had cut his hair.

“He’s an artist,” D.J. said. “You should look him up.”

So Andrew finds his artist page and clicks on it, and his heart quickens.

Because it’s Drake. Documentary Drake.

Andrew shoots him an email with his cell number, and Drake texts him soon after.

“Come on over for a haircut,” the text says.

So Andrew drives downtown to Drake’s house for a 20-minute cut, and stays 2 ½ hours.

Other men join them: more artists who want to change the city. Together they talk about life’s purpose, sex, drugs, alcohol, addictions, art, music, culture, travel, religion, the church, worship, and idols.

These guys hit it off with Andrew and invite him to an event of theirs, so he and his wife go. He’s looking around at this room full of people, their hearts all beating with creative longing, and one of the guys says to the crowd,

“Man, we are the heart of this culture, and that’s why we’re here in this city, to make this a city that thrives on the arts.”

And Andrew, he's hearing the throbbing desires of these artists and thinking about the One who gave them their desires, the One who has the greatest desire for them: to know them and express Himself through them.

My heart quickens as Andrew's telling me the story because I see it in Andrew's life clear and true: how God's seed is in us changing us, so that our hearts beat in tempo with his. So that a man in a big, lonely city leans over to his wife in church and says in unison with God,

"I want to know and be known by that artist."

Then I remember how the Father's heart is an artist's heart: how he wants to make something meaningful out of something meaningless, something whole out of broken parts, and something beautiful out ugliness.

I remember how we are God's greatest masterpieces, and how he wants to work with us, to re-create us so that we're our Truest Selves—the selves we've always dreamed of being. Because the Father is not just a sculptor, carpenter, and painter: he's a composer. And he wants every heart to beat in time with his in a pulsing sacred symphony that sends Life, Light, and Beauty shooting through a city full of hearts he loves.  

It's for this our hearts were created.

© by scj


  1. Awesome, Sarah. So fits with much of what we are learning about and experiencing here in Vancouver.