Picturing God

My Spiritual Director gave me a wonderful but very challenging task last week. When I expressed to her that I had experienced a difficult time in my own walk with God at a particular time not long ago, she sent me home to draw a picture.

Any of you who know me well understand that I’m no artist. I can paint pretty convincing clouds on a model railroad backdrop with an airbrush, but beyond that, I’m reduced to stick figures. So this task was a challenge for me.

Yet if I am honest with myself, the challenge was not so much the art work – my Spiritual Director wasn’t looking for something that would hang in a gallery – the challenge was what to depict in the picture. You see, she asked me to draw a picture of what God looked like in that period of difficulty in my relationship with the Lord.

If you were asked to draw a picture of God as God seems to you in the relationship you share, what would that picture look like? It can be difficult, and might almost seem impossible, to make such a drawing, for our attempts to depict the infinite God in finite brushstrokes is not easy. But, in the same way that three blindfolded people might describe an elephant in three different ways just by touching different parts of the animal, each of us may have a different ‘picture’ of God based on how our relationship with him is at a given time. It’s a snapshot of a portion of God – not a comprehensive description. So go ahead: draw a picture of God, for you, now.

Then, do it again next week. What will have changed?

“Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity”, said Paul to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 13.12, NLT). I look forward to the day when my picture of God will be the real thing.