By Betty J. Slade | PREVIEW Columnist
If I were to put a face on God’s love, I’d say, “I see the face of Janet Sorenson.”
I met her 46 years ago. I listened to her children’s hearts at her memorial service. They were full of love for their mama, a reflection of who Janet was to her children and her friends. What an awesome tribute to a beautiful, classy lady.
Tourists have said when they visited Pagosa, Janet was the first person they met at Goodman’s Department Store. For 44 years she greeted and served out-of-town people. Many moved here because of Janet. She was part of God’s plan for their destiny and God’s story.
“… Before we were even born, he gave us our destiny, that we would fulfill the plan of God who always accomplishes every purpose and plan in his heart.” — Ephesians 1:11 (TPT).
God is the master story teller. He paints portraits of stories, events, journeys, prophecies, poetry and passion. Not with brush and paint, words and sentences, but with our lives. We become the face of God’s story.
We see examples of this in the books of the Bible. He didn’t name his books after towns and events. He named them after people. When he wrote about humanity, he used the life of Job to lay out the story of man’s condition.
A proud, religious man, who cried out for answers, Job was the E.F. Hutton of his day. When he whispered, everyone listened. He championed widows, but wouldn’t submit to God’s mercy until the last chapter of the book. When he surrendered, he was rewarded double for all his pain and patience.
Ruth, a gentile, was a friend to Israel. She gave the world a son, the forefather of the king who will sit on the throne of God forever.
God wrote a love letter to Israel penned by Solomon. This beautiful song spoke of the love between a Shulamite maiden and the king. It portrayed the love between Jesus and his church, God and Israel, and a man and woman.
He prophesied His crucifixion through Jonah’s experience in the belly of the fish for three days.
He wrote his story from before time to after time through the life and face of Isaiah.
He told the story of a husband’s love for his wife through of Hosea and Gomer. Hosea was instructed to take a wife of prostitution, marry her and bear children. When she was unfaithful, Hosea was instructed to take her back from the slave block and love her. God showed redemption and second chances for Israel, his unfaithful wife.
I painted a portrait in oil in 2009 of Mary Magdalene, titled “Mary, do not cling to me.” Her eyes haunted me and I felt she had something to say. I saw her pain and her yearning to tell me about her redemption.
With only eight verses in the Bible about Mary Magdalene, I wrote her story, fiction based on actual events. From a life snatched away in childhood to an unbearable, demon-possessed existence, she buried her inner self. She flaunted her pride and lost her dignity. When she came to herself, she turned from the seduction of lies, blew out the red candle and wrapped her soul in the promises of God. I put a face on the story of Israel, her unfaithfulness and her redemption.
God of the universe put a face on His plan and His story’s destiny. God put Himself into His story. Jesus is the face of God’s love.
Final brushstroke: Just as God gave us Janet Sorenson for a season, she was completed by Jesus and she also completed Him. We are the face of His plans and His story’s destiny. We carry the face of Jesus to a dying world.
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