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Deeper into the Word

Have you ever heard a friend or loved one (or stranger, for that matter) say, “Oh, I don’t have a creative bone in my body”? Or maybe you’re the guilty one.

Often, the line wriggles its way into conversations regarding craftiness – card making, sewing, scrapbooking, decorating… anything with an –ing at the end of it. And in every situation, it’s uttered out of a comparison: you are creative because you craft like Martha Stewart, but since I don’t, then I must not be creative at all.

Lie.

I’m reading a book written by fellow Redbud writer, Keri Wyatt Kent, Deeper into the Word, during my early morning quiet hours. In it, she takes 100 Old Testament words and reflects on their deeper meaning. As she offers in the introduction:

“…we can connect with Jesus when we read the Scriptures he read: the Old Testament. While the New Testament is the story Jesus lived, the Old Testament contains Scriptures Jesus loved. He studied them not under compulsion or duress, but with passion and joy.”

I’m pulled in by this truth. I love words – the art they make in their layered meanings. The idea of studying the words Jesus loves is like dissecting a flower: the beauty of the thing immediately apparent, yet with each petal lifted and careful slicing to the middle, a profoundly intricate – and intimate – purpose is revealed.

Each word I’ve read has brought some fresh air of revelation. But, create, is where my mind lingers.

As Kent mentions, from the beginning God’s Word carries a theme of creation. The Creator creates: atoms, ants, aardvarks. Sunflowers, sea creatures and sunsets. His delight at each masterpiece is obvious: “It is good!” After creating man and woman in His image, His delight climaxes: “It is very good!”

Not only are we designed in God’s created image, notes Kent, but we are sustained by His creative power as well.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10

And, though the word, create, is not used in the following passage, I think of God’s creative power as He proclaims, “I am doing a new thing… I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland”:

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive
it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
20 The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21 the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.

– Isaiah 43:18-21

Only a transcendent, omnipotent God has such creative power to refresh, renew and redeem His loved ones. More incredible still, is to consider that the same power God used to create the earth – all that’s in it and around it – is the same power He uses to bring healing to life’s wounds, wholeness where there’s been loss. “A way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Of course, I’m never guilty of death to creativity by comparison! My creative self-esteem flows like the mountain river in spring – an endless supply of ideas, melt from my mind,  stream down my fingertips and onto paper, nourishing and giving fresh imaginings to all who read. Never do I wrench my hands in fists, stare up to the ceiling, tears streaming down my stress-weathered face and cry:

“Why can’t I write as sharply as …” or “Why don’t my words string together as elegantly as …” or “When will I ever write as prolifically as …”

If you believe that bunch of hooey, then you’re more gullible than I could have ever creatively imagined. More important, you’re missing out on God’s creative pulsing through your veins. Yours. Not anyone else’s.

This Christmas, as you ponder – like Mary, so long ago – the creative wonder of a God, who would choose to bring salvation through a wrinkled babe, born of a virgin in a rhudementary shelter for animals; may you become aware of these same creative pulses within – uniquely yours and “very good.”

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