Start over with me, and create a new, clean heart within me. Psalm 51:10 (MSG)
New Creation – Creativity Series – Part 2
Keith Green died two days after my birth in 1982. He was 28 years old. His story (which you can read in his wife's book, “No Compromise”), is incredible. He set Psalm 51 to music, and it was one of the first songs I learned to play on the piano.
“Create in me a clean heart, Oh God
And renew a right spirit within me
Cast me not away from thy presence, Oh Lord
And take not thy Holy Spirit from me
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation
And renew a right spirit within me.”
This song still springs to life whenever I feel the ache for newness. It can be after I’ve yelled at the kids, or fought with my husband, been rude to my mum, or when a disagreement gets nasty with a friend. (or after I’ve eaten a whole block of chocolate). I’ve written about this before, but I’ve had depression, and each time it rears its ugly head, I scream this song from deep within:
“Recreate me – Renew me.”
Yet, even though God has the power to make all things new as (2 Cor 5:17), I’m left with my enduring challenges.
Does God still create? Make new?
When he created Adam and saw him take his first breath, did he feel the same thing we do as new parents when we hold our newborn babies in our arms? Filled with possibility, but also completely terrified of what could happen? Or was God like, “it doesn’t matter what goes wrong, I can just make it new.”
Or is the renewing, redemptive process more complicated than that?
Creating is a part of God's nature. It isn’t so much what he does, but who he is. He is a creator. Creation spills from him all over the place. The Bible is LITTERED with verses about God creating and recreating and renewing and making new and redeeming and restoring… God is creative.
And we are in need of recreation, right? Wars, natural disasters, heartaches, world issues and problems around food and water, borders and protection, diseases that need curing, children that need adopting, overflowing prisons, corrupt governments… if ever there was a time the world needed some creative restoring, now would be good, right?
When David penned Psalm 51, he was full of shame and regret over his actions with Uriah and Bathsheba. The pain of acknowledging his sin and understanding the brevity of what he had done – murdered Uriah so he could marry his wife – was shattering. Soul rendering. Dark and heavy.
You know what it's like (I do): taking responsibility for the pain you’ve inflicted on others is weighty and sobering. When you realise what you’ve done and how you’ve hurt someone, it can rip your heart in two. Who wouldn’t want to be made new at that moment. David did. I bet he wouldn’t have done anything to feel that clean, pure, feeling of innocence in his heart. I’m sure Keith Green felt the same way and that's why his song resonated with so many.
But God is a creative. And every artist knows that the art, the piece, the work, takes time. You can’t just click your fingers, and BOOM! The beauty appears. Beauty is formed by layer upon layer of colour, editing, drawing, erasing, falling down, getting up, speeding up the beat, slowing it down, hours of writing, hours of thinking… the creative process is not instantaneous. It goes much deeper than the superficial.
While we feel like we are living in the dark, God is at work creating.
Richard Rohr says, “Historic cultures saw grief as a time of incubation, transformation, and necessary hibernation. Yet this sacred space is the very space we avoid. When we avoid darkness, we avoid tension, spiritual creativity, and finally transformation. We avoid God, who works in the darkness – where we are not in control! Maybe that is the secret: relinquishing control.”
Relinquish the need to control our situational outcomes over to the ultimate artist who is waiting with pen, brush, instrument, song in hand, to do his best work yet…
OVER TO YOU… leave us a comment below!
Go to Part 3 – New Life »
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