My trampled pig picture and what I learned about shoe prints

I remember a time in kindergarten when I actually made something that looked good.  I was very coordinated for my age if only I had been three instead of six.  But this time in art class, I actually made something that looked good.  Very good in fact.  A masterpiece.

This little piggy has authenticity about him, too.

It was a pig made out of construction paper shapes.  I had done a spectacular job cutting out the snout, if I do say so myself.  It actually resembled an oval.

When the bell rang, I raced out in the hall, eager to get on the bus so I could show my mom my pig picture and present it to her as a gift.  I was in such a hurry that I dropped my masterpiece.  My picture fluttered down and I watched as a gang of kindergarteners trampled my pig.

Tears in my eyes, I picked up my artwork and got on the bus.  There was a partial shoe print on my pig’s head.

I showed it to my mom, telling her how my picture had gotten stepped on.  She told me it actually looked more authentic, because the pig was dirty.  She hung it up on the wall to make me feel special.

Thinking back some 22 years later, I’m reminded that I always have a choice in how I deal with small misfortunes, from trampled pig pictures to having a cart carelessly shoved in my path of movement to sitting behind a train for a long, long time when it wasn’t very convenient to do so.

Since I start with the belief that God loves me, I should (and wish I always did) look for His love shining through all circumstances, a little like my mother’s love for her disillusioned artist.   But unlike my mother’s love, limited to finding a clever reason to explain away the shoe print, God is capable of erasing the shoe prints from our masterpieces . . . bringing through them an unexpected brilliance to our art . . . we could never have imagined.

God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

(1 Corinthians 1:3, NIV)

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Photograph by Heidi La Bash, available on http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronharmon/1804958191/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

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No Excuse–but there’s still Hope

The past does not excuse poor behavior in the present.

The present does not excuse poor behavior in the past.

We answer for what we do.

We answer for all we do.

Our only hope is to be justified by the acts of someone whose past and present need no excuses.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. (Romans 5:6-11, NLT)