Why Does the Caged Sun Shine?
March 24, 2011
I remember when my fifth grade art teacher announced, much to my horror, that we were now too old to be drawing every picture with the sun (burst) in the upper left corner of the page. What? That was how I began every picture! It was like the schoolgirl’s way of spreading happy onto whatever theme the rest of her picture took on. In my mind, that was the only way to compose a sun. When I drew my first sun-circle, I crossed a rite of passage from childish, storybook art to real life interpretation. If it weren’t for Ms. Nehemiah, who knows how long I would have continued caging my suns in corners. But now I was liberated with the truth. The sun was unleashed in its glory, showcasing its splendor with vigor in my many pieces to come. Now my daughters are giving the sun the role of a pizza slice in their page corners. As I glanced at their artwork yesterday, I considered how similar our thoughts of God are. We like him at the top of our page to spread happiness, but as we mature we learn that he is so much more radiant than the corner we’ve been assigning him to. That corner may symbolize some of our beginning teachings, but as we are shown more from his Word we realize we have been far too easily satisfied with storybook happiness. As our knowledge of God increases, our whole picture changes. Here are but three ways:
- How we view ourselves. Suddenly that little pony with a rainbow I’ve been drawing to represent myself is looking out of whack. I’m not just a good person who has made a couple of mistakes. I am a sinner from birth in desperate need of a Savior. Before my conversion I was dead in my sins, by my very nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:1-3). All the so-called good I was doing was to glorify myself; to draw my own praise. “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isa. 64:6).
- How we view God. Before, I was satisfied to draw him as a triangle in a corner. My thoughts of God were obtuse. Once my teacher revealed the truth to me, I realized what I was missing. Likewise, when I am illuminated by the gospel, I learn that my creator God is holy and just, and fully good. He is also abounding in a grace so amazing that he “demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). I learn the beauty of my Lord’s plan and action of redemption.
- How we view the world. I now learn that there is light and there is shadow in the picture. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deed should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3:19-21). Rather than a false coating of happiness spread all over the page, I want my drawing to be true. I want to have the joy of Christ Jesus fulfilled in me.