Stories With Pictures

18 10 2012

I sometimes sit back from reading the Bible and wonder what it was like to be…say…David, trying to capture what God and what a life lived with God was like. How long did he sit there trying to finish this sentence:

“Those who trust in the Lord are like…”

“Are like, what?” He looks out his window, “Those who trust in the Lord have this solid…this immovable…this huge…this…indestructible…”

He looks way out and sees the landmark that has come to represent hope, security, a future…it’s Mount Zion.

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion.” (Psalm 125:1)

Historically, Mount Zion represented all the promises of God; one giant rock to stand out against the landscape of their oppression. They could lift their eyes up and see that Mountain and they could say, “that is like me because of the promises of God.”

That is what those who trust in the Lord are like, David is inspired to write. They are like that mountain: “they will not be defeated but will endure forever.Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever” (verse 2).

When you trust in God something happens to you, something supernatural. You go from being a frail collection of dust to a mountain surrounded by mountains. Formidable (Def: Inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable: “a formidable opponent”).

These word pictures aren’t idle words, they are the closest thing the languages of the earth can come to in describing a life with God. You have everything you need to be like…like…a mountain! Take your best shot, a mountain is pretty durable.

I do love this about God, how He speaks with pictures. There are countless external ones: smoke, stones, bread, water, fire, wings, earthquake, wind, flowers, birds, lightening, the universe, rainbows. There are some pretty personal ones: Jewish circumcision, for example (“Forget you are mine? Take a look in the mirror buddy”). Some of the minor prophets every day lives became a story God used to tell the story of Israel’s rebellion and His relentless pursuit of them; He even gave us Hosea’s complicated love-life to read and ponder the inexplicable faithfulness of the jilted lover. And, the ultimate, unforgettable visual: the wounds in Jesus’ hands and side and the cross itself.

As I am thinking about this, I am so intrigued that we are wired this way; how one small symbol can carry a person through the worst of times, change their mind, inspire a new path, give hope in a hopeless situation.

Even today, I think one of the ways Jesus will tell His story is through pictures, things He shows us that become a reminder of what He is saying to us. I have one. It’s a single brown leaf, defying winter, still clinging to a branch. I will never forget the series of stories that Jesus told me through the brown leaf that caught my eye one day.

Sometimes I think we just need to open our eyes and look at the story Jesus wants to illustrate for us…

And then there is Big White; it opens in around 43 days. Maybe it would be worth a drive up there (or to Whistler, or Everest for that matter), stand where you can look out on the valley filled with mountains and remember that you are like this when you are with God: highly durable.

— Teresa Klassen

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