Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Master Artist

“Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me.”

Marshall Ramsey, editorial cartoonist for The Clarion Ledger and two time Pulitzer Prize finalist, recently made an appearance at our local library. His reading of Harold and the Purple Crayon and display of artistic ability were mesmerizing – well, maybe not for the intended audience of two and three year olds, but certainly for their parents. (And for people like me who no longer have young children but who happened to be at the library at the time.)

One by one children were invited to draw a random line on Mr. Ramsey’s large pad of blank paper which he then proceeded to incorporate into a magnificent drawing. Not a simple stick figure drawing, but a creative piece of art. One line became a space alien, another a dinosaur, and still another a fisherman catching the “big one”. I was a bit skeptical when one child produced a very curly line that looked like, well, a very curly line. (At least to my untrained eye.) Undaunted, the master artist transformed it into a baby elephant with its mother, the very curly line all but disappeared.

While it is not my desire to discredit the budding artists who aided Mr. Ramsey, I do know he didn’t need those child-drawn lines to create his artwork. The real skill wasn’t in the child’s contribution, but in the artist’s ability to take a random line he didn’t create or orchestrate and turn it into something captivating and fun to behold. He merely invited the children to participate in his creative endeavor.

۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞

God wants to make something beautiful on the blank pages of our lives, and for some unknown reason He invites His children to participate in this creative endeavor by giving them the crayon of free will. Sometimes that crayon produces clever, imaginative markings, and sometimes it produces down-right brutal ones. However, if we allow Him, God supernaturally incorporates all those lines into an original work of beauty. The fact that He uses the dark lines doesn’t mean He caused them.[2] And it certainly doesn’t mean He needed them.[3] We must remember that redeemed situations, just like redeemed squiggly lines, are a tribute to the Redeemer, not an endorsement for human failures. And when it comes to redemptive art work, God is the Master.

© Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat 2009
[1] “Papa”, a god-like figure, to Mack who had indeed experienced an unspeakable tragedy from The Shack.
[2] “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5
[3] “And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” Acts 17:25