by Hallie Odell (2012)
There’s something better out there.
There are stories of revolution, of revival, of restoring of people’s hearts. They are stories that belong to the God of the universe, mastered and written by him for his glory.
There are also the people in those stories, people that were used and changed and molded and healed in ways they can hardly describe, ways that will alter their lives forever,
Those people and those stories and that God are all part of a giant, beautiful picture that will be on display at the end of time, when everyone who was watching will be able to see it and bask in the painter’s glory. It’s a beautiful thing, that picture—and it’s beautiful without even being finished yet.
Now, there’s that picture, all true and wonderful, and then there’s me.
I’m in some corner of the picture, walking in and out of the main scene enough to leave a few smudges when I exit. The rest of the time I spend in that little corner, existing in what I think is the epicenter of all things.
Materialistic America, that’s what it’s called.
It’s a foul, terrible, empty place. Filled with too many colors and too many things so that you suffocate under the bright lights and reflections. We fill ourselves with all these things, thinking that we’re different: that we’re embracing individuality much better than what we actually are.
But it’s all just stuff, and we’re all just the same.
We live in fear of our future, because we know what we will soon be. In fact, we’ve written book after book about it, and we are distressed by what we see. It’s like us under a magnifying glass, and we are terrible and selfish and shallow and we don’t like what we see.
But we don’t change what we see.
That I realized just today. You’d expect some revolution, some dramatic change or some movement where individuals rise up and show everyone that our corner of the picture is a waste. Where we turn around and run to the main scene, where there is a story and a people and a God over it all.
But there isn’t.
So now I know I’m called. Called to stand for myself and say no to what I’ve allowed all these years. This selfish life and this stuff and these colors that have been plastering me to this corner. I’ve been lazy and self- indulgent and cruel. I’ve been shallow and petty and shabby in character.
That ends now.
Here is the place and now is the time when I make a new resolution, a new war cry for my life, for
my stand, and for my people. This is my migration to the middle of the picture, to my God and to my people and to their story. Their story is now mine.
This is my cry:
That I will reject settling for just existing in the corner, being filled mostly with the stuff and the colors and the shallow meanings of life. Those days for me are done and over.
Now I will plant my foundation in the center, camp under the tent of my God, live with my people, and be a part. Be a part of their story. I will watch God paint his picture and tell his story, and I will make certain that I am one of those people he moves and changes and uses and heals.
And I will be changed forever.
But I will not end there. I will rise up with my people, and I will call back to those in my old life, those still plastered to the walls of color in the corner. I wall call to them to reject their old lives, with their things and their old, petty ways, and I will beg them to join us.
I will beg them to come.
To come and join us, to claim a spot under the tent of their God, with their people and be a part. Be a part of our story. To join us and watch our God paint the picture that changes them and uses them and heals them.
And their lives will be altered forever.
So then, together, we will pray and we will call and we will fight so that every last one moves from the corner of the painting to the tent of our God, where we will stay, alive and full and self-sacrificing, until the end.
Until the end, when we will praise our God.