It’s been years ago since I sat alone on the hard wooden stool in the art room of my high school hunched over my self-portrait in frustration. My figure looked lifeless in the purple and yellow hues. My only solace with the painting was the collage background that represented who God made me to be.
I sat, completely absorbed in brush-strokes and colors when the dangling of metal met my ears, and I looked up from my work. A boy walked in. His name was Mark, and he was the picture of gothic attire. The black clothes didn’t worry me as much as the large symbol of a pentagram, Satan’s symbol, weighted around his neck like the dog-tags of a unseen war that Mark knew nothing about. That necklace disturbed me, so I hunkered back down and kept to myself.
God had other plans though. After a few minutes of Mark and me working silently on our self-portraits, I felt that still small voice stir inside of me, willing me, compelling me to speak, so I did. It was small talk at first, but I knew where God wanted me to take the conversation, so before long, I let out the first awkward mention of God. Gratefully, Mark didn’t storm out of the room, but instead told me everything he believed about God.
Sadly, I learned that because of some misguided teaching, Mark understood the Lord to be everything other than good. Mark’s view was distorted, and I was burdened with the thought of him not understanding the God I had come to know. I wish I could say that I said something incredible, but honestly, I don’t quite remember what I said in response to him. But, I firmly believe that God spoke through me.
Whatever came out of my mouth, I do remember Mark’s response. He said in his low voice, “Your words have broken my prison.” Then, with one swift movement he clutched the chain with the pentagram and ripped it free of his neck. With amazing aim, he then pitched it in the trashcan.
Just then, his art teacher, Mrs. Cain, bustled in with a puzzled look written across her face. Mark smiled, grabbed his things and walked out of the room.
A few days later, on my way to my art class, Mrs. Cain stopped me before entering and pulled me into her classroom. “I don’t know what you and Mark talked about the other day, but he is acting so differently! Look at this.”
She then pulled out his drawing. In the middle of the paper, it looked like there had been some vigorous erasing right where the charm had been on his necklace. Instead of a pentagram symbol, the symbol of Satan, there hung a cross.
It amazes me what Christ does to us when we get the chance to see Him for who He really is. Just like with Mark, God changes our perspective on life, He alters what we stand for with one whisper to our souls. I am grateful for that. God changed Mark’s portrait that day, but He also changed mine.
How has God changed you church? Think about it, and then lets thank Him for those differences and even more for how He continues to change us in the years to come.