Abstract Rose- Look, See, Pray

Do you like abstract art?

It’s defined as art where the artistic content depends on internal form rather than pictorial representation. Think Picasso, Dali… the Impressionist and Pointillist schools were their forerunners, and many of Turner’s paintings are somewhat abstract (as compared to John Constable).

Here’s an abstract of a red rose. Isolating the colours and shapes- your brain (probably) supplies the “correct” interpretation- means the eye and mind can think about the rose differently, in some ways more deeply.

Christian faith can also be presented in a variety of “shapes” and “colours.” Sometimes Christianity has been “explained” as “Come to Jesus and all your problems will be solved instantly.” Sadly, that isn’t right. At least, not in the sense of henceforth having a pain-free life or living in a world of sunshine and smiles.

Victorian preacher CH Spurgeon had a lovely way with words: this quote from “Barbed Arrows from the Quiver of CH Spurgeon” is a classic. “A faith that never wept is a faith that never lived.”

Even God weeps, grieving over His chosen people, over the suffering in the world, and the stubbornness of human hearts. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus wept.

Theology (knowledge of God) can be studied as a purely academic/objective/theoretical passion. Or it is studied in the laboratory of REAL life: practical experience working it out and applying in in the face of difficult circumstances, unanswerable questions, chronic illness or swift tragedy. Spurgeon has a point. Faith must be a living breathing obedience even when it hurts- or it is dead and useless except as a hobby.

Comforting thought: faith DOES make a difference, even when we’re crying. Little children cry readily- and seek the safety and strength of their parents. Do you think that God, our heavenly parent, is less kind and loving than human parents are (or should be)? Of course not.

Next time the world doesn’t look “right” or bits are missing from the puzzle, feel free to cry. Or release the emotional load and stress out loud to God in the way that helps you express the pain and confusion best.

It may just breathe life into your faith even though the questions remain. In crying alongside others, their grief will also be helped: a shared burden is lighter.

Don’t be afraid to cry. God’s “baby monitor” is always on.

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