The other day I got a surprise in the post. A big chunky brown envelope. When I opened it up this is what I found:
Amazing eh? I love it. Just straight-up love it!
It was from my friend Tim in the UK. We’re actually yet to meet in person, but he’s a super-passionate, super-creative, super-generous dude. Hence the painting. I asked Tim about it and this is what he said,
“As I prayed about the painting, God gave me the images. The Lion, with His roar warring on behalf of the people, alongside the Lamb bringing redemption, and hope arising!”
That’s what the Japanese means: ‘hope.’ So appropriate in so many ways. I feel like at the moment hope is what my soul is feeding on, and this painting helps me do that. A weird phrase perhaps, so let me explain.
I recently read a short book (well technically an excerpt from an upcoming book) by Makoto Fujimura called ‘On Becoming Generative.’ In it he relates a time when his wife bought some flowers, and he got angry at her because they were living pretty close to the bread line and they couldn’t afford to buy flowers. Her response floored him, and to be honest it fairly floored me too.
“We need to feed our souls, too.”
It floored me, because it’s a truth that’s been pressing in on me over the past few months. But I haven’t been able to really pin it down. That phrase summed it all up, “We need to feed our souls, too.”
I mean I knew that it was important to keep my soul joyful. After 31 years of life I’ve picked that much up. That was the main reason for starting up this blog. I wanted to make sure I stayed in touch with folk like you. And I wanted to encourage people to stay in touch–like really in touch–with the other missionary folk they know around the world.
But the practicalities of keeping my soul well fed in this strange and wonderful country of Japan . . . I hadn’t really nailed that down.
Which is odd, because ‘feeding souls’ – well, you could say that’s what I came to Japan to do. Teaching people to feed their souls on Jesus. That is after all what Jesus calls people to do,
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
Now it’s not often that I forget to feed my belly (and for ‘often’ read ‘ever’). But I’m a bit of a muppet, and I can easily forget to feed my own soul. I need near-constant reminding to keep feeding on the bread of life. I need pointers . . . I need paintings.
Paintings that speak of redemption. Paintings that stir my heart to hope afresh. Paintings that show that ancient promise: ‘Immanuel,’ God with us.
Yes, I need paintings. Because I need to feed my soul, too.
So, basically what I’m trying to say is, thanks for the painting Tim. I love it!