Heartwork… a place where our heart is the Artist’s canvas.
I’m on a journey that began long ago- around the age of 6, when God first touched me and filled me with His Spirit. Crazy? Maybe. True? Absolutely. The God that created us shaped us with hearts desperate for Him, hearts longing for the touch of the Artist’s brush. From the beginning, we are given a heart that is malleable and soft- created to be molded by the Master’s hand.
Isaiah, one of the Old Testament prophets, said it this way:
But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Isaiah 64:8, KJV
Later on, another prophet came on the scene, and this was his experience with the Lord concerning the work of God on our hearts:
God told Jeremiah, “Up on your feet! Go to the potter’s house. When you get there, I’ll tell you what I have to say.” So I went to the potter’s house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot. Then God’s Message came to me: “Can’t I do just as this potter does, people of Israel?” God’s Decree! “Watch this potter. In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you, people of Israel.
Jeremiah 18:1-6, MSG
The potter doesn’t throw out the clay if the pot is ugly- he just breaks it up and starts over. With the same lump of clay, he can make a masterpiece. That is the way I see the heart. It’s God’s palette, His blank canvas on which He creates beauty. Splashes of color and sunbursts of light join together to make a masterpiece.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking already- “My heart isn’t exactly a blank canvas.” Mine isn’t, either. I know as well as anybody that our hearts remain clean and unmarred for maybe the first few moments of life. After that, pain happens. A loved one abandons us. Lies told. Trust broken. Our soft, malleable heart begins turning in on itself as a survival instinct. We go into protection mode, and our blank canvas becomes a battered door, padlocked.
Then God steps in. Since He created our hearts, He knows the secret passage to the front door. Our inner door, past the padlocked gate. He doesn’t use a battering ram to get in- He gently knocks. Patiently waits, paintbrush in hand. Peers through the peephole, hoping that we’ll come to the door.
Look at Me. I stand at the door. I knock.
If we let Him inside, that’s where the action begins. He takes out His paintbrush, and lovingly, painstakingly, He turns our scars and wounds into the outline of a beautiful masterpiece. The hurts and dark places of our heart are the perfect background for His work. Messy is beautiful. Broken things have character. And we realize in that moment, the pains in our life DID have a purpose.
So He continues: the Artist places a stroke here, a touch there, adds a little of this and a wide brushstroke there, until finally He is finished. He steps back to gaze at His masterpiece- His piece of heartwork.
This new plan I’m making with Israel isn’t going to be written on paper, isn’t going to be chiseled in stone; This time I’m writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts. I’ll be their God, they’ll be my people. Hebrews 8:10, MSG