Great Redemption Story

posted Dec 22, 2012, 9:19 AM by Phil Clark   [ updated Aug 27, 2015, 12:16 PM by Sonrise Lightmyway ]
In search of his next great work, an internationally acclaimed Brazilian artist living abroad traveled back to his homeland, to go to the largest landfill in the world.  He met with a group of impoverished people there who eeked out an existence by rummaging through garbage each day collecting recycle material that could be sold to recyclers.  He began interviewing them individually to learn about their lives and the circumstances that brought each of them to what many would consider the lowest place on earth.  He took artistic portraits of each subject with a camera.  He then invited them to collect certain objects from the dump and to bring those objects to a large warehouse in town.  Agreeing to do so, they would gather up the requested items each day and carry them to the warehouse in the evening.   Perched high above the floor on scaffolding, the artist would project the portrait of one of the landfill people down several stories to the concrete below.  The trash workers below would then place the useless items onto the lighted image on the ground at the artist's direction.  Each piece of trash was colored and shaped to emulate a splash of color on the artist's concrete palette. The worker depended on the voice of the artist to know where to put each object.   Night after night, the artist would direct the workers where to place each item of trash until the image on the concrete was completely covered.   Standing below, the workers could only see the rubbish laid at their feet, arranged in vague patterns and shapes.  When the work was complete, the artist would invite each subject to climb up the scaffolding to see their image in the concrete below.  As the humble workers ascended the scaffolding and looked down, each of them would experience great emotion as the beautiful image of themselves below came into perspective.    It was the first time any of them saw themselves in the context of something valuable.  Seeing their portrait transformed by the garbage into a masterpiece gave them a different perspective on themselves and their life circumstances.  It gave them a sense of worth and purpose for the first time in their lives.  The work was photographed and displayed at a London art show later that same year.  The money generated from the sale of the images was significant.  The artist invested the money earned from the sale of the images back into the landfill community to improve it, changing many more lives in the process.  By touching each person's life with his artistic talent, the artist imparted to each subject the ability to see themselves in a different light.  Their depravity became the backdrop to an amazing story of redemption.  They began to dare to believe that they weren't just trash, but rather, were part of a masterpiece.  Two of the individuals who had their portrait taken by the artist went on to become community leaders and spokespeople in their country on behalf of the poor. 

Here's another great redemption story painted on a backdrop of humility.  A cold, tired, homeless, unwed teenage girl gives birth to a King who would rise to defeat man's greatest enemies......death and despair.  Think of it.....the God of the Universe there with Mary in one of her darkest, most vulnerable moments.   He wasn't merely a bystander,  there but outside of Mary's circumstances, unaffected by her situation, like an impartial observer or reporter.  Instead, he was vested in the moment, as a part of Mary's life, experiencing her humility and sharing in her suffering.  He took that humility upon Himself.     Without Mary's humble circumstances at that moment in time, the story of King Jesus would not have been perfectly great.  That moment of humility became the backdrop for the greatest life and greatest story ever told.    Every great story has a dark moment, a problem, a crisis, a time of trouble.  When we submit our darkest moments to the great Author and invite Him into our story, we can hope in advance through faith that our story will turn from darkness to light when the final chapter is written.   What great story is being crafting from the darkest moments in your life?  How will God take those wasted, broken, discarded, forgotten moments from your life and turn them into a masterpiece?   It seems that the darker the problem and more broken the life, the more potential there is for a really great story.   What circumstances has God allowed you to experience in your life to form the backdrop to your amazing story of redemption?   At the end of our lives, when we ascend the scaffolding and look down on our life from God's perspective, what amazing story will that proclaim to a new heaven and earth for all eternity?    Merry Christmas!

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