Many mornings, when I’m hanging out with my kids, I will print them out pictures that they can color. Occasionally, I will draw the pictures myself – mostly to save on ink (if you haven’t noticed, ink is expensive). Such was the case this morning. I drew a picture for Camden and Acadia, and then let them do their thing.
After spending a few minutes drawing Acadia’s picture, I was mortified when I walked by the table and saw what she was doing to it. No, I thought to myself, she can’t be coloring the girl’s hair purple. I invested my time drawing that. I, of course, wasn’t excited about her careless coloring outside the lines, either.
But like a bolt of lightning, something all of a sudden hit me. This little object lesson can be taken many different ways, to be sure, but this is what hit me in particular (warning: sappy material ahead): I suddenly experienced a little insight into God’s heart, realizing the frustration, and even pain, when He sees what we do to the works He has spent so much time and energy creating.
It’s a simple thought, really, but it suddenly hit me with great profundity. The investment God has made in me reaches far beyond hitting a button to print a page. He has invested His life, His time, indeed, the existence of His Son, in both creating and re-creating my life – and the people and the world around me. And yet how do I respond? Do I treat such a purchase carelessly, coloring outside the lines and burying the image of Himself He has put in me?
Of course, Acadia is only three: she’s right where she should be developmentally. And I take great joy in her childish abilities and spirit at this point. And such is the case with so many Christians. They can’t be expected to color inside the lines before they learn how to hold a crayon.
Yet, what a tragedy it will be if Acadia is still coloring outside the lines, and giving girls purple hair, when she’s 23. Similarly, Christ is eagerly waiting for us to respond to His love and grace – and creative power – in such a way that we will finally grow up “to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). He’s eagerly waiting for us to grasp the depth of the investment He’s made in creating and re-creating us, so that we might, indeed, “glorify God in [our] body and in [our] spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Until then, He will still keep patiently drawing those pictures, investing His time and creative energy, hoping that we will finally allow Him to teach us how to color.