Painting in the dirt of our lives

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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?

This entry was posted in Art and Life, Beauty, grace and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Painting in the dirt of our lives

  1. Maybe that’s why children like to play in mud puddles or dig around in sandboxes or build castles on the wet beaches of seashores. They’re more closely connected to God through their innocence and, therefore, are able to channel His joy of creativity into something that most adults would dismiss as beneath their maturity level – their “ick-ter” scale.
    No wonder kids have so much more fun than adults!

    Hey Dads! Let’s spend some time this weekend playing in the dirt with our kids!
    Happy Father’s Day to all who fulfill that role…

  2. David Morgereth says:

    Brought to mind a song by “Out of the Grey” called “Write My Life”

    I try to write a rhyme
    To reveal my feelings inside
    I search with every word
    To find the perfect line

    But just like a little child
    I hide behind a clever line
    You take the pencil
    I’ve been holding much too tight

    And I’m watching
    You write my life, Lord
    I’m seeing Your hand in all I am
    I’m watching You write my life
    And learning how to trust

    I struggle every day
    To finish this my own way
    Then try to scribble out
    The pain of my mistakes

    But You take my hand in time
    And You paint a simple line
    Erasing each mistake
    The pages come alive

    And I’m watching
    You write my life, Lord
    I’m seeing Your hand in all I am
    I’m watching You write my life
    And learning how to trust

  3. Mark D Seguin says:

    Liked this: “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.” Amen

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