“Dig If You Will A Picture”

No, this is not an article about the musical artist Prince. Instead, I want to talk to you about pictures. We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” Or perhaps one of my favorites, “I can show you better than I can tell you.” Using an illustration is one of the best ways there is to bring understanding. And God has utilized “pictures” from the dawn of creation. In fact, I believe that all of creation is an elaborate “picture” given to us by God to help us better understand who God is and how God is as well. And perhaps one of the best pictures God has given us is the family.

Now it’s obvious, the world we live in today is a lot different from the world portrayed to us by old episodes of Leave It To Beaver or Father Knows Best. (How many people even know what I’m talking about?) We’ve even gone way past the family life depicted in Married With Children. But dig if you will a picture:

A man and woman meet. They fall in love, completely and fully giving themselves to each other. Neither person surrenders their individuality, they are not absorbed by each other. But they become one. And this love, this intimacy, this oneness results in creation. Children are born who now participate in the love already enjoyed by their parents. While this family is made up of  several members, they are one. And each one, in their role as family members, loves, enjoys, serves and cares for the other members. While there may be diversity in ‘function,’ it takes each member of the family to express what the family actually is. The family itself is an expression of love.

Admittedly, the “family-picture” cannot fully describe a holy God. All of creation itself can only begin to declare his glory. But can you see why God gave us this picture? And can you see why an enemy would work so hard (with our complete cooperation mind you) to distort it? With this picture we catch a glimpse into the very nature of the Triune God. The family, along with all of creation, speaks of the glory of God. It helps bring to light the truth of who and how God is. It gives us insight into God’s motivation and intention.

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.”

Dig if you will a picture!


Mamas & God

The Bible says that “…through everything God made, [we] can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature.” Now while I know that this verse may primarily be talking about the heavens, earth, celestial bodies and so on, I believe the truth extends into family relationships as well. I believe that because God is so holy, so awesome and unlike anything we can imagine, his creation (all of it) is designed to give us tangible expressions of who he is. That brings me to moms. I think there’s an awful lot we can learn about God from our moms, but I’ll just mention a few things that come immediately to mind.

First of all there is our birth- I didn’t give birth to myself. My mother carried me inside her own body, nurtured me, protected me and eventually gave birth to me. Before I was ever born she loved me. Without having seen me she desired me. The fact of the matter is that without her I wouldn’t even be here. Can you catch a glimpse of God in that?

How about the way our moms care for us? I remember my mom going without so that my brother and I didn’t have to. She made sure we were fed and clothed. Before I was old enough to say, “Thank you Mom. I love you.” she cared for me. When I got hurt or sick- Mama! If ever I was teased by other kids and made to feel inferior- Mama! When I was scared- Mama! When I wanted things that weren’t good for me- Mama! Does that remind you of Someone else?

Oh, we can’t forget the way Mama loves! “Nobody will ever love you like your mama boy.” God knows the heartache and pain I brought to my mom. The life I lived broke her heart, made her worry and took me away from her at times. But she always forgave, she always believed, she never gave up! When I hated myself she was somehow able to make me feel worth loving. She told me the truth, even when I didn’t want to hear it. But even when that truth was hard, it was always wrapped up in love. She let me go my own way when she knew it would bring me pain. But in her wisdom she understood that I had to learn for myself. No matter what I did she was always willing to take me back. It was as simple as saying, “Mom.” Do you see God’s love?

Mom, I love you. Thanks for showing me, just by being you, the glory of God.