Yesterday I wrote about the story of a Mexican immigrant who drives a short-haul truck route all over Los Angeles and has found a way to express his artistic nature and training in the the dirt and muck that forms on the back of his truck. Instead of washing his truck every couple weeks, he creates a work of art there. The grime from the streets is a never-ending supply of ink on the canvas of his white truck.
His artistic eye saw something redeemable in the grease and the grime of life. He’s creating beauty out of the sludge of the city streets. The parallel for our lives is inescapable. God is making something beautiful out of the mess of our lives. He’s creating something intelligent out of the unintelligible. He’s painting a picture — a story, if you will — that will bring joy to many people because it is a work of art — a thing of beauty riding around through the dirty streets of our existence. Pile it on. The yuck is simply more paint for His palette.
There’s no way to avoid the fact that life is messy. God doesn’t clean up the streets. But He redeems the circumstances. He paints a story of our lives out of the dirt.
Think of Jesus writing in the dirt with His finger with an obviously sinful woman in front of Him whom the religious leaders had caught in the act of adultery. No one really knows what He was writing or drawing there, but one thing’s for sure, He was bringing beauty out of the dust of a hard life. He was giving the woman before Him, whom the Pharisees had trapped, a new lease on life. They were condemning her; He was setting her free to be what God always wanted her to be.
And what about when he spit on the ground and made mud out of the spittle, put it over the eyes of a blind man and told him to go wash, and when he did, he could see? The dirt was part of the story.
We don’t want to get rid of the dirt of our lives. We can’t. But that dirt can tell a story; God is painting a picture with it. It’s an earthy, gritty reality He is creating. It’s not pretty, but it’s beautiful. It’s a kind of grimy beauty.
Here’s a question to think about this weekend, and if you’re in a small group, it would be great to have everyone work on this. If God were to paint your story on the back of a truck, what would that painting be?