I was in Sunday school and reprimanded by the teacher.
We were to draw a picture of what we thought God looked like. Most kids drew a long-haired Mediterranean looking dude. Some drew a picture of a man sitting on a throne with a crown and angels all around.
I imagined God must be like nothing the human eye has every seen so I made Him different.
He had four eyes – two on His face and two on the back of His head. I gave Him three or maybe it was four arms. I colored Him mostly purple with other rainbow colors for His hair and clothes.
We were to hand them into the teacher and she was to pick them in random order and display for the class to see.
When she got to mine, she crumpled it up, threw it in the bin, and had me stand with my face to the wall until I was picked up from class. I was embarrassed, but not sure why and I remember trying to hold the hot tears back. I also remember hearing sneers from some of the other boys and whispers as well as giggles from the girls. I was so angry at the injustice and the fact that I was not given an opportunity to share what I thought was a brilliant interpretation of what God may look like. Why wasn’t I even given the chance? I was so confused to why I was stuck in the corner. And my other thought at that young tender age of single digits was this lady should not be a teacher especially in church!
My father came to pick me up which was a rarity as he worked most Sundays. He saw me in the corner and the teacher tried to explain away my disrespect, but instead he firmly called my name and said: “Let’s go.” On the way out of the room, I gently reached into that garbage bin and gingerly took my drawing out. I tried my best to rid it of the wrinkles caused by that insensitive ‘teacher’. She thought she was teaching me a lesson. If only she would have let me explain, she would have been the one learning. So instead I explained it to my dad as he lovingly responded with oos and ahs saying how creative and contemplative I was.
The eyes on the back of the head were there because I had heard moms say they had eyes on back of theirs. If moms knew all then surely God knew more so He needed to see in every direction. Moms also complained they didn’t have enough hands for everything so that is why in that picture I gave God more. I colored His skin purple because surely He did not have the same skin tones as humans. Thus, the rainbow colors for clothes and hair was my choice. I so wish I still had that innocent and insightful drawing.
Such understanding that God is more than meets the human eye.
So here I sit four plus decades later with that day forever engrained in my mind’s eye. I did not ever go back to that Sunday school class and from that day on rarely was creative but conformed to teachers’ wishes. What a waste of childhood innocence and squelching creativity.
We can’t put God in a box and others should not try to put us in one either.
I bet that teacher never thought about that day again or if she did, it was thought of smuggly thinking she did the right thing.
I often gauge ministry by this little saying I coined: “Feelings saved are always better than being right.”
I wonder if she ever knew how hurt my feelings really were because of the creativity God put within in me to try to describe He who is indescribable. Ironic that I was hurt in a class supposedly teaching about a loving God. Where was her love, patience, even tolerance or understanding for a child who thought different? God desires us to love and embrace our differences. He created each of us uniquely so we should see that especially in drawings of young children. Ask the meaning before assuming you know what it is!
Our God is a constant, unchanging, unwavering Deity we can depend on. Praise Him for this! And maybe just maybe when we get to Heaven, we might see Him a little different and better than we could ever imagine or attempt to portray. Who knows, purple skin or rainbow hair may just dazzle us!
In the meantime, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10.27) and the world will see you…
© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved