Yesterday, I celebrated 30 years of marriage with my wife. After a nice dinner out, I came home to a moving and thoughtful surprise that put a smile on my face and gave me great joy. There in our room sat a huge, beautifully framed copy of what has become my favorite painting. An anniversary gift from Lisa. I’ve blogged about David Arms’ “God’s Story” before. I look at it and ponder what it means. I see myself in it. There in the painting’s four panels is the grace-filled unfolding story of God undoing what humans have done. . . Creation. . . Fall. . . Redemption. . . . Restoration.
Even though I never lived in it, panel one echoes through my being. I know that I was made for that. Panel two is an ever-present and gnawing part of my life. Panel three reminds me of the mercy and grace I’ve been shown. . . no fault of my own. Panel four is what I look forward to. I stand back and look at the entire painting and see the story into which I’ve been called. And no matter where I am at that moment in time, the painting ministers to me and gives me much-needed perspective. I see my home in that painting which will now hang prominently in my home. I am reminded that God is. I am reminded that God is at work. I am reminded that God is writing His story.
I woke up this morning and looked once more at the painting Lisa got me. Awesome. Then I walked downstairs to a cup of coffee and the newspaper. . . and Donald Kaul’s biting editorial on Charles Colson entitled “Colson was no saint.”
I encourage you to read Kaul’s bitter and angry piece. Donald Kaul doesn’t buy Colson’s change. Donald Kaul believes that with his death, Charles Colson got what he deserved. Donald Kaul admittedly breaks his own rules when he concludes, “Generally, I don’t believe in speaking ill of the dead. In Colson’s case, however, I’ve made an exception.”
This morning I feel sad for Donald Kaul. I wish he could look at David Arms’ depiction of the drama of redemption and realize that God is merciful and good. I wish he could see how yes, guys like the Apostle Paul, Charles Colson, and the chiefest of sinners du jour can be called, made over, and transformed in ways that are so miraculous that they do seem unbelievable. I wish that Donald Kaul would ask the story-writer to help him understand the power of THE story.
The great irony of Donald Kaul’s piece is that Charles Colson himself would probably agree with the title. No, Colson was a sinner and he knew it. And yes, Colson did receive his final reward. That’s the great and glorious irony of life for all of us who have been found by The Shepherd.