Charcoal drawing is messy, creative and rewarding fun. I guess nearly everyone has had a go at drawing with it, even a burnt match produces a similar effect – but you need the real thing to get the best results.
Charcoal is a light, black residue, consisting of carbon and any remaining ash and is usually produced by slow pyrolysis, the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen. To be honest, I have no idea what pyrolysis is, but I believe what Wikipedia tells me about these things! i One thing is clear – the process of making the charcoal is a drawn-out affair that requires experience, knowledge and patience.
It is easy to draw misplaced analogies for the prophetic ministry that incorporate some of the emotive aspect of charcoal production; ‘the furnace of affliction’, ‘long drawn out times of preparation with the suffocating absence of various components of life that are so comforting to others’, ‘being hidden away’, ‘neglected’, ‘overlooked’ until eventually, you ’emerge from the ashes’, ready, prepared and useful.
Admit it, we’ve all looked at life in that way at one time or another! Sometimes we have used the potters-wheel analogy instead. It’s creative, fanciful, image-inspiring but not really a biblical focus.
On reflection in life we can feel that the journey has included pain, heartache and trial – and it has, but it is never a Shaolin priest self-discovery exercise where the outcome is that we are finally, after testing – fit for purpose.
Our entire life is a life of discipleship. We are called to know God, and we do that through a lifetime of discovering what He reveals to us about His love for us, and more important, for Himself. It is a breathtaking journey where we discover that having come to know God, that he is both ever with and ever beyond us? There is yet more to know of God.
As we draw near to God that He reveals more and more of Himself and we begin to be more and more convinced that God really can do all the gracious, loving things the Bible says he can.
Prophetic ministry is at its best when it is responding to revelation that comes from the Holy Spirit. God is not a more powerful version of man. He is entirely different to us, infinitely more powerful. He is the creator, we are the creature. We are not the same.
That is good news!
He is not just ‘more’ loving or wiser, but off the scale of our most educated comprehension. He is the full personification of Wisdom and Love. Not just loving or wise, but He is the awesome, “I AM!”
Prophetic ministry doesn’t need the charcoal experiences of life to demonstrate the biblical vision of God in its disturbing, unsettling yet eternally satisfying totality. It clearly announces a more captivating vision; His profoundly intentional intervention in the affairs of mankind to elicit praise, thanksgiving, worship and a response of love.
Prophetic ministey just needs revelation. The Spirit of God is awesome at that.
Children like Samuel can hear, know and discern such revelation as can great-grand parents.
All I want to do here, is encourage you – you don’t have to go through the furnace of trial and tribulation to be able to hear God. God is very good at communicating Himself.
There is profound value to suffering and heartache and it most certainly does have its place in our lives – but it is not just so that God can use you.
- Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen. It involves the simultaneous change of chemical composition and physical phase, and is irreversible. The word is coined from the Greek-derived elements pyro “fire” and lysis “separating”. Wiki (back)