Alan from behind looking into the distance

Finding Myself Again

(A two minute read)

I have people in my life who will say that I ‘found Jesus.’ Others will say that I ‘came to faith.’ They misunderstand. The opposite is true. God came to me. I wasn’t looking for Him. But He was looking for me. Endlessly. And when my time came, I couldn’t ignore Him.

He approached me first, then I found Him. Then I came to find faith in Him. Only then could I hear Him say ‘Follow Me’. Only then could I follow Him.

In that faith that I found, I now know that there are great things in store for me. I’m God’s masterpiece, ‘created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that (I) should walk in them.’ *

Here’s the deal: I was His masterpiece before I followed Him in faith. I was His masterpiece when I was still His enemy and hated Him. I was His masterpiece when I was broken. That’s why He came after me, because I was broken and had thrown myself in the trash. I was like Forky in Toy Story 4. Because I lived in the trash, I thought I was trash.

God disagreed, and tracked me down. What artist paints a masterpiece and throws it in the trash? Or, in my case, if the masterwork is thrown in the trash, doesn’t the artist go to retrieve it? To redeem it?

It’s by God’s grace that I was pulled from the scrap heap, saved from my own destruction. Now, I may finally ‘walk out those good works that God prepared beforehand.’

I do this successfully only through complete surrender. Surrender is difficult sometimes, but it renders the Christian life very simple. The simple answer to every question is to turn to Jesus, who tracks me down no matter how far I wander. And when He reaches me again, He says ‘Follow Me’. And I do, because He’s the one worth following, and I find myself again.

* Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

Photo by Rachel Richards

graffiti

Graffiti Artist

The sounds of young men shouting
In multi-colored throat, crying
‘I am here!, See my voice!’ all mean
Hearts pleading ‘Father, where are you?’

A fatherless generation
Wails in an urban wilderness.
Concrete gives voice
while the hearts camp in the desert.

There is no way home as
The blank stares of tower blocks
Offer no expression.
They give nothing away to young men.

Young men poke them in the eye and make them blink.
The fatherless offer expression of their own
And take what they need
In the absence of a father.

No ears to hear them, arms to hold them?
These broken sons of a nation
Which has them perch on breezeblock
Instead of crawling into Daddy’s lap.

‘What do you know, mate?’ comes the challenge.
‘I understand the pain’ I say,
‘Because I too built my own wall
And then spray-painted it.’

I gave myself orphanhood.
‘Take that or nothing,’ I thought.
Hobson’s Choice was all I saw
As I painted myself into a corner.

But each one can teach one.
Each one can reach one,
After the paint dries,
And we walk free.

an arrow attached to a tree

Things to Think About

(A two minute read or a lifetime of pondering)

Life is full of a questions and ideas. Some of them pass like the wind. Some fall to earth and become objects of curiosity for a time. A few of them grow into something I can write about.

Some parts of this short collection could appear later in more complete form. Or, they may pass like the wind. I can’t see from here.

They are offered for you to think about, write about, dream about or forget about. Freely they were given, so freely I give them away.

  • Jesus is the new tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We eat of Him and it undoes that other one.
  • Look at all the things the tree provides: Seed, fruit, sugar, shade, protection, beauty, heat. What else?
  • The world: Based on a true story.
  • “What if?” That is simultaneously the most wondrous and the most dangerous question in the world.
  • We are, all of us, works in progress, but only if we keep our minds open to weigh all things carefully. Otherwise we are standing stones, casting a shadow, providing no light.
  • Resentments are nothing more than bones chewed beyond nutrition or taste. Long after the taste is gone, the hater gnaws compulsively, not considering the worthlessness of his action.
  • It’s easy to remember God loves me. It’s harder to remember that He died a brutal death to express it. Harder still is to accept that He did this because of his hatred for all the evil and sin in my life.