“Dad, wook come see what I made!” My son’s face lit up with enthusiasm as his little hand pulled me towards the refrigerator.
“Show me!” I replied, his excitement transferring instantaneously in a bold denial of the laws of physics.
“Wook!” He turned to me, grinning from ear-to-ear, tiny finger outstretched towards the scribbled mess suspended by a magnet.
“Wow! It’s amazing!” I said, turning towards him as he beamed with pride. I looked back at the piece of paper. It looked as though a game of connect the dots had gone horribly, horribly wrong. “…What is it?”
“It’s a (fill in the blank)!”
Now, I consider myself a pretty abstract thinker. Whenever my toddlers decide to show off their art to me, however, I’m usually hard-pressed to identify even a slight resemblance to whatever they confidently claim to have drawn. Nevertheless, their masterpiece commands an undeniable, rightful place on the fridge that I wouldn’t trade for a Picasso.
It’s not for the quality of their drawings – although I fail to see the distinction between their work and some of the stuff hung up in museums:
By Kazimir Malevich – (Transferred from en.wikipedia – was: en:Image:Black Square.jpg), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=507949
It’s a square… a square. What am I missing???
Anyway, my point here is that the picture itself is irrelevant. It’s my children’s’ inner intentions in which my heart delights.
I wonder, how much is this adoration a replicated quality of the Father in whose image we are created?
Perhaps we need look no further than “the man after God’s own heart” – King David.
At face value, David does not fit the image of piety. His dirty laundry list is abhorrent. Adulterer, murderer, family in shambles, host of concubines…all things we would not or should not want to replicate. Yet, despite his shortcomings, David possessed a deep longing to be in God’s presence; to be apart from it was tantamount to torment.
“Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight…
…Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.” (Psalm 51:1-4;10-12 NLT)
David fell hard. He repented harder.
Now I’m not saying what we do with our lives is irrelevant. David paid deeply for his sins. David’s son born to Bathsheba died. His son, Absalom, rebelled against him and slept with his concubines.Nevertheless, it was his heart – not his sins – that defined him.
In the words of Thomas Merton, “the fact that I think I am following your will, does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you, does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.”
I am well pleased just to see that desire in my children, regardless of what they bring me. In the same way, I’m convinced that God would rather we draw a stick figure and bring the scribbled mess to Him, then paint the Sistine Chapel by ourselves.
And you know what? I’m actually impressed by the scattered streaks generated by my children’s toddler minds. Who knows? Maybe one of my kids will be the next Picasso after all!
– Nicolas C. Day
 2 Samuel 12