“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.””–Luke 15:21-24a
My heart and soul is blessed to know a former “avant-guarde” artist. This artist, now an older man, describes his earlier adult years as a time when he pursued radical art expression, an expression that sought to release the pain and darkness felt in his own soul and the soul of the times and culture he lived in. He painted dark disturbing pictures of death, darkness, people, and other things that were a sign of the times. He pushed boundaries in every way, channeling his anger, frustration, and pain through his art, believing beauty was not to be expressed or even considered.
One day, he was out walking in the the wintery woods. He noticed the sun shining on the hoarfrost and went in for a closer look. As he stood in the woods alone, staring at the shimmering beauty of the frost, the darkness of his heart was penetrated, and he saw the beauty before him. Light entered his soul, beauty was discovered, and as he describes it—he had an encounter with his Heavenly Father. God touched his heart, revealed His glory, and my friend has never been the same since. Now he wins national and international awards for his magnificent artworks of oils and pastels, glorious portrayals of nature, water, and other subjects, bathed in color and light. His artwork hangs in many museums and is coveted by many collectors, admirers, and friends, as it speaks deep beauty and light into our souls. He continues to grow in the light and passion of what God speaks and reveals to him, and isn’t afraid to share his story with others. I am one of the lucky ones to have heard it, and I am blessed to have him as a teacher, mentor, and friend.
His story reminds me of the story of the prodigal son. The son who takes his inheritance early, squanders it, then goes back to his father and seeks forgiveness. The text above from Luke describes his encounter with his father, and instead of shame, the father embraces him, and celebrates. The son was lost, but now is found. The parable reveals God’s character to us—a loving Father who finds us in our deepest darkness, and brings us into His marvelous light, as He did with my friend, and does with us all. Despite our sin, He washes us clean from the dirt and mess of our lives and sets us apart to live in the light for Him.
Where in your life do you feel dead or lost right now? Know that God is searching for you, waiting for you with open arms, ready to bless you and breathe His glorious light into your life. Go to Him. Confess your sins and need for Him.
And you will be found in Him.
Prayer– “God of beauty and light, I am often like the prodigal son who has wandered off away from you, squandering the life that you have given me. Give me the courage to return to you, wash me clean from my sins, and forgive me. Change my heart to turn in a new direction, following you into your glorious light. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”