When I first came to trust in Jesus, I was four years old. I’m glad I received faith’s message in a plain, thick-line-drawn, coloring book format as a child. It was what I could apprehend, a “handle” on life in God. Each year, I’d pick up a new crayon to color The Picture in a little bit. I had teachers who–sometimes lovingly, sometimes not–would exhort me to “stay in the lines.” Through my teenage years, I began experimenting with markers and watercolors, and in college I traded in the coloring book altogether and graduated to a paint-by-numbers Monet, I think. I finally realized that I’m not much of a visual artist, but I can appreciate the work of others and collaborate in my own way. From Rembrandt to Dali to Picasso, art keeps looking different but it’s still art. Similarly, God keeps looking different, but it’s still God. Everytime I grow and mature, there God is. And whenever I stumble or regress, God is right there as well.
I’m glad God isn’t like so many other artifacts from my childhood, my adolescence, my early 20s. God isn’t like a Pet Rock or Chia Pet or Giga Pet–God is untamable, simple and complex at once. God and life and love and loss keep on looking different depending on the medium, but the art is getting richer and more satisfying.