*Names have been changed in order to protect the privacy of my friends.
We couldn’t begin to comprehend why life had to take him away too soon. At only 18 he had departed this world and left those he loved asking hard questions. I didn’t know him personally but my friend Annie had been a long time friend of his. The news came to her from the U.S. all the way to Australia. She was saddened yet she still clung to the peace only Christ could provide.
I knew there was something wrong. Her usual bright complexion was solemn and quiet. I didn’t want to pry so we just walked quietly beneath the trees that aligned Young St, past coffee shops laying snug with warmth beneath the grey and cold winter sky.
Then, in an unguarded moment in an auditorium she told me. She told me of the tragic circumstances that surrounded the death of Micah, and I couldn’t comprehend it. It was too devastating and it angered me that such a young person could be taken that way. She talked beautifully of him. The color on her cheeks returned when she shared snippets of who he was and in a way still is-because I believe that death does not take away the truth of his identity.
I could tell he had impacted her life, and little did I know how much he would impact mine, from that day forward, to today, when my heart needed to be revived and have hope once again in our living God.
“You know what he once told me?” Annie said as I intently listened tears sitting beneath her hazel eyes as she smiled at his wisdom, “He said, if God were to take all my fingers away I would love him just the same.”
I listened further…
“You have to understand that Micah had magic in his fingers, he was the most talented artist I had ever come across and painted not only with his hands, but with such depth that could only come from somewhere deep inside him.”
This cut right through me and caused me to examine myself.
Would I still love God if I was stripped of the essence that was a part of me? What would I do if I lost my eyes, which serve as the catalyst for my photography? I couldn’t fathom the idea; and quite frankly, I don’t think I would be as humble as Micah…
I know this because in this moment of my life I feel confused and stripped of the things I hold most dear, and this has made me bitter towards God.
Someone once told me that at the very root of our disillusionment with God is this, “I am not getting what I want.” Which I believe is in fact the culmination of our heartache and our deep discontentment.
In this time of my life I’m not getting “my way (what I want)” in the sense that although I managed to get a job as a photojournalist for my college newspaper, it has been a while since I’ve been called for an assignment. In this moment I am not getting “my way” as my brother leaves to Colorado taking our beloved pup leaving a void so fresh and deep in our home and hearts.
All these circumstances are not going the way I envisioned and desired them… and as a result I’m confused, angry and dare I say it…bitter.
Yet the fruit of Micah’s life still reminds me, reminds me, to love God in the good and the bad. It may sound cliché but is an incredibly difficult challenge to adhere to, because its easy to love God when everything is easy, but to love God when everything is breaking demands an examination of self and heart. Do I really love God for who He is? Or for what He does for me?
Daring to love God even when it hurts is a declaration more powerful than I could ever comprehend and destroys all the logic I could compute. This powerful wisdom and position of heart is what made Micah love God in the deepest way I’ve ever seen another human love God.
I sat watching his funeral via a live link, and I cried when I saw Micah for the first time. His testimony video played and he talked with a voice of someone who knew God in an intricate way. His voice was soft yet filled with conviction, like someone who has been through peaks and valleys and had discovered a facet of God not known to many…. and the line came “If God were to take all my fingers away I would love him just the same.” As he said this his hands were seen painting a masterpiece so magnificent, in shades of blue…
And I understood another depth of his incredible declaration, because to Micah this wasn’t just art this was his worship to our magnificent God.
So now I stand here challenged. Challenged to love God fervently and incandescently. To dare to love him through my peaks and valleys. To dare to see life as something to be marveled at and grasped, to dare and call dry bones to rise…. dare to believe and call God good when my human vision is limited… to love God for God.
Thank you Micah for your life. Thank you for the fruit that you have reaped, you have impacted me forever and have dared me to love God for God, you have left your strokes of color and magic upon this world. May you be celebrating with your beloved in heaven, I’m sure its glorious and one heck of a party.
All my love,