Pictures of you

I've been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they're real
I've been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are
All I can feel - Pictures of You, The Cure

I know this song does not have to do with what I am going to write about, but when I heard these lyrics for the 20th, maybe 50th time I got to thinking about my pictures of God. To me a picture is a bit of captured reality that, less rather than more, allows me to recall the place, people, feelings...all of the everything associated with the time that I remember when it was taken. I get so sure about what I recall and the longer I stare at the pictures, the farther I get from the actual event, I remember less specifics but I am sure of so much more; sure of much more than I should be.

And what of the pictures of God that I have? For sure he has plainly revealed himself to me in the Bible, but what of the spaces that the Bible doesn't occupy? Everything is there for me to come to repentance and to live a holy life pleasing to him, but there is so much more ambiguity than I think there is. There is so much more that I wish he would have said. A clarification here or a side conversation there would solidify so much more for me and decrease the temptation that I have to fill in the spaces with my pictures. The ones I paint and rest in. I hate ambiguity. I grow restless with it so I find specificity as I draw, however poorly, these things I wish God had said.

And these pictures seep into my relationships with other people. Rather than embracing others where they are with all their brilliant flaws I draw a picture and declare it to be all that I can feel. My picture is safe. See - it's an 8x10 rectangle and not a borderless mess. I can hang it on this wall or that and choose to look at it whenever I want. It never invades my life unless I let it. It never tells me I am wrong. In fact, the more I look at it the more I believe I understand every last swirl and texture. Picture! Thank you for giving me such clarity and so sure a foundation. You are a remarkable servant to me.

No reality is found in that picture save the fact that it is there. God, these pictures I have of you and others, will you take them from me? Have you tried to? I haven't let you take them have I? Will you help me give them to you? I love them more than I love you don't I? 

Don't answer that. I know I do.

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