Sunday, April 5, 2009

Painting David

I have been studying the life of David with my 242 group at AU using a Beth Moore study this year, and we are now coming to the end of David's life. It has been one exciting ride -- we've learned so much more about David than I think any of us ever anticipated, and through his life story we've discovered many truths about how God deals with his people - patiently, justly, sometimes mysteriously, always lovingly.

So usually I would be meeting with my 242 group right now to discuss David's latest escapades with his army general and the Philistines, but tonight we cancelled group because everyone is pretty stressed and busy with school, planning weddings, raising money... the business of living. Instead, I just finished painting. This is what we do when we have an itch for a change - it's time for a new coat of paint.

This color is really nice. The paint itself is a really good quality. We have two gallons of it - both mistints reduced to $5 each - and I painted the entire upstairs hallway using only half a gallon. That's some fine paint, and I think I'll paint the dining room (which is currently baby-poop brown/orange... or terracotta) and the stairway leading down into the basement the same color, just because it is such a nice shade. It's a mellow brownish gray color. I'm a big fan. Obviously.

Our house started as a relatively clean slate - every wall was flat, flat, flat white - and then there were cabinets that had been lacquered so many times they looked orange, carpet in the kitchen, lime green paint in the bathroom... your usual 70s era "improvements". We've slapped paint on nearly every room in the house now - just a few more to go. We needed to make the house our own, to cover up the scratches and marks we made moving in with a nice warm glow.

The problem is that as we've prepped for painting, things start revealing themselves, like the interesting bulges behind the white wall, or the old wallpaper painted over we discovered when unscrewing the curtain rods. Worse problems are the bulging tiles in the bathroom (we have a lot of bulging going on). Most of the time we spackle the holes and paint right on over.

I bet David wished he could buy a few gallons of paint and cover up the mess he'd made of his walls. I know there are seasons of my life I wish I could just paint over and forget forever, but painting over and forgetting the cracks and leaks doesn't get rid of the problem - it just puts a band-aid on it until it festers long enough to become a worse issue. David was really good at ignoring sin in his life and hoping it wouldn't come back to bite him... but it always did - with Bathsheba, with Tamar, Absalom, and Amnon, with Joab, and on and on throughout his kingdom and his life.

So often we are unwilling to confront the sin or hurt in our lives and instead put on a happy face. David did the same thing over and over again. Jeremiah 6:14 says, "They bandage the wounds of my people as if they were not very deep. 'Peace, peace,' they say. But there isn't any peace." We can make the surface of things look happy, clean, and peaceful but it won't matter much if what's underneath is blistering and infected.

Are there areas in your life that you've painted a fresh coat of paint on in spite of the water damage underneath? What deep issues are you avoiding for fear of the angry gardener's pruning shears? It is better to have that infected area of your life cut off then to let it fester and rot until the infection spreads to every other area of your life. David did not deal well with the problems in his personal life or the conflict within his family, and it affected his entire kingdom. Protect yourself and your "kingdom" - family, friends, work, etc. - from the consequences of sin, and let God deal with you now before the infection spreads. No more paint! :)

The Angry Gardener
“He cuts off every branch in me
that bears no fruit…” – John 15:2

The angry gardener sees
overgrown, untended beds
and seethes. He pulls
the waist-high weeds,
heavy in seed, and heaves
them to the compost heap.

And then the shrubs –
how they shudder
in his shadow, hand saw
pushed and pulled until
limbs quiver, surrender.

Pruners snip, his grip
is sweaty, tight, a frenzy
to the suckers, rose hips,
broken stems, spotted leaves.
The clipping never ends;
he is severe – takes away
more than one-third.

And then mulch,
fertilizer, buckets of water.
The landscape sighs,
breathes with the gardener
who stands back,
fists on hips.