Isaiah 40:18 To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare Him to?
If you had seen my math notebook when I was in High School, you would have found penciled images of two things in between algebraic equations and geometrical patterns – illustrated pictures of goldfish and cartoon depictions of Jesus. Don’t ask me why I drew goldfish because I can’t remember, but I drew images of Christ because I was struggling with my faith. (I was also struggling with calculus, but that’s a different story).
As a teenager, I had a very insecure and immature faith which didn’t influence my lifestyle choices. I still carried around in my heart and mind the Sunday School Jesus who was always helping and healing other people. I had an image of Jesus being either surrounded with lots of excited children or of Him touching sick people with His gentle hands. Those were good images for my childlike faith, but as a young person who was wrestling with issues of injustice, tragedy, and calamity that “Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild” image just didn’t fit in the real world.
So I doodled images of Christ on my math book, which makes me now wonder if I did that because I couldn’t factor faith and life, Christ and the world into one easy logical equation. I guess I was struggling with the age old question: if God is so good, then why does suffering exist?
Years later, when I saw paintings of Christ on the Cross, I began to understand how to put the equation together. God is so good, He allows Himself to suffer.
These days, I continue to draw pictures of God and Christ because it’s one of the important ways that I express my faith. Sometimes a simple drawing can convey more meaning than a thousand words. And yet I also understand that those created images can never do justice to the reality of Jesus or God. After all, as Isaiah so boldly stated centuries ago: To whom will we compare God? What image will we compare God to?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are beyond our imagining and all that we know about You is so little compared to who You really are. As we each journey through life, help us to seek more about You and grant us a faith that never stops growing. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to see some of John’s religious and other drawings, please visit his art site at www.stushieart.wordpress.com.