Mosaic: The Portrait of a Restored Life

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. (Psalm 4:1 NIV)
“Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? (Job 10:8, 9 NIV)
“Why then did you bring me out of the womb? I wish I had died before any eye saw me. If only I had never come into being, or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave! Are not my few days almost over? Turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy before I go to the place of no return, to the land of gloom and utter darkness, to the land of deepest night, of utter darkness and disorder, where even the light is like darkness.” (Job 10:8, 9, 18-22 NIV)

Job speaks out to God from a very broken place, a broken soul. I'm sure that Job never saw chapter 42 of the book in the bible that bears his name. If Job had known for sure that God was going to restore him with twice what he had would this have been his prayer? He couldn't imagine that the pieces of his now broken life would look twice as good as they had before Satan was given the "green light" to make his life miserable. This gives me hope. If God can do it for Job, and He doesn't show favoritism, then just maybe He can sweep up the shards of my life and give shape once again to my broken destiny. If Job was a piece of art I think we would find his portrait in the mosaic section of the museum.

Let's define Mosaic: A picture or decoration made of small, usually colored pieces of inlaid stone, glass, etc. the process of producing such a picture or decoration. Something resembling such a picture or decoration in composition, especially in being made up of diverse elements: a mosaic of borrowed ideas.

Like Job, my life has become a "Mosaic". Though I'm not an art enthusiast I've always enjoyed looking at mosaic art. It's intriguing to me that an artist would take the time to find hundreds, if not thousands, of small pieces of glass and stone and make a picture. I feel like all the broken pieces of my life are scattered across the crossroads of my city, if not the world.

There are certainly pieces of me on the continent of Africa, I believe that that's where God will find my heart. At this point I can't even imagine what form the shattered pieces of my life will take on when pieced back together. Who will be in the picture, the mosaic with me? Will all the faces of the ones I love, and hurt, be visible as God begins to rebuild His masterpiece? Will there be enough of me left to be made whole? I sure hope so.
I feel scattered, scattered in my hope, my thinking and in my daily routines. I have even walked the city streets of downtown OKC searching for where I now belong in God's grand scheme of things. Is there enough of Mark Crow left to piece together a portrait of my future? (Thank God I'm not "Humpty Dumpty" and that King Jesus is not delegating this job to "all the kings horses and all the kings men" the King himself will have to work on me.) Today I have more questions than usual. Have you ever been in the inner city on a Sunday? The streets that are bustling with the corporate hustle of professionals Monday through Friday give way to the hopeless shuffle of the homeless on Sunday. I should know. I spent a part of the day shuffling with this precious group of people yesterday.

These are good people who God created in His image and His likeness. What WRONG decision did they make that put them in this ghostly maze of the inner city high rises? Can't God find enough pieces of their lives to put them back together and make something beautiful out of their ghastly splintered remains? It's scares me a little bit. These are people like me, like us, that for whatever reason collapsed under the cruel hand of a mistake. Or, the pressures of the corporate world they once served. Maybe that's why so many homeless people fill the landscape of the inner cities of our country, it's all they know.

Only now they are on the outside looking in, as am I, at the world that once provided for their families and their self-esteem. Is all their dignity lost? Can't God find enough pieces of their skills, their passions and their talents to reassemble them? Aren't there still pieces of their past accomplishments lying around the city streets hidden under the refuse of wind blown newspapers, empty cigarette packages and the likes? I've been told that some of these gaunt faced, ragged dressed individuals were once attorneys, accountants and business owners. Now I find myself wanting to learn from them or at least learn their stories. I've always felt that except for grace there go I. On this particular Sunday afternoon here sit "I" among them.
Have you ever heard the sound of an ambulance siren or one of a fire truck echoing through the silent streets on a windy Sunday afternoon in urban America? It's haunting! As I sat among those who hide in this world of shadows during the week and rule it on Sundays I realized that we are all not that much different. We all need God!

We are all shattered to some degree and on a daily basis need the delicate, loving hand of God to hold the fragile pieces of our lives together.  Maybe this myriad of metro domiciles is one of God's assembly plants (or campuses as we call them in the church world). King David tells us that God actually desires brokenness. "My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. " (Psalm 51:17 NIV)

The other thing about mosaic art that I've noticed is that this type of art often looks soiled and dirty. I'm not sure why. Maybe the residue of the caulk and other materials used to put the pieces back together causes it. There are no smooth lines in a mosaic and most of the time there seem to be several parts of the work that are jagged and uneven. Sometimes it's even a little challenging to clearly decipher what the final work really reflects. 

I can only pray that the picture of my future is clear when the last chunk of my stained humanity is wedged into the mosaic of my destiny.

I know this-- that In 1977 God took the jagged pieces of my broken life and carefully pieced together the portrait of a preacher. I was shocked and I'm sure that all who knew me were as well. How could God conceivably take the fractured parcels of a rebellious, arrogant, selfish human being like me and turn these filthy chips of my life into a mouthpiece for Him and for His glory? Can he now take those same pieces, broken again in different places, of the same man that He pieced together for His glory 37 years ago and make something useable, even beautiful? Is that possible?

After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters.
The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years. (Job 42:10-17 NIV)

There it is, the beautiful mosaic future of a man who refused to curse God and die. I really do hope that there is a chapter 42 in my life. I believe!