“For impactful communication, words are good, pictures are better, but cartoons are best. Cartooning is a language I speak fluently.”
This drawing and this quote had nothing to do with each other–until God brought them together during a deeply moving experience of His Presence that I will never forget.
The quote is my answer to a question on a recent job application, a question about what makes me “unique.” The picture is a logo I created for a vending business I operated a few years ago. I sold a few hundred hotdogs, lost a few thousand dollars, but came away with a nice banner and some cool T-shirts.
While working through the “tell us who you are” section of this job application, I began to see some things about my core identity with more clarity. At heart, I am a shepherd-protector-encourager.
But I also had to identify something that makes me “unique.” When I was a kid, I watched my Dad draw cartoons, and I was fascinated. I learned the “language,” and delighted to speak it. So, when the prospective employer encouraged me to be creative about my uniqueness by adding, “try to catch our eye,” I answered that I can speak with impact through the language of cartooning.
I thought I was pretty clever.
What happened next astonished me. In the early hours of the following morning, while I was lying in bed, I experienced a most intimate sense of the Presence of God. His nearness was unmistakable. It was as if the Spirit of God was whispering in my ear when I “heard” Him say, “You speak cartoon? So do I.” Immediately the Fire-Dog image came to my mind. “That’s you. You saw danger. You wanted to protect.” I knew what this was all about. And I started to weep.
I will not share everything with you about this encounter. It’s too sacred, too deeply personal. But what I want to convey is that God clearly communicated something to me in a completely unexpected way. When God spoke to me through an image of a cartoon dog dressed as a Firefighter, He affirmed something about me, something about my heart. I am a protector.
I was utterly shocked that God would speak to me this way. But why?
It should not surprise me that a Father knows His son and knows the language of His son’s heart. I know my own children that way. I know their love languages. Why should I be surprised that God would speak my language?
Over the years I’ve become persuaded that God speaks to me a lot more than I listen to Him. But I am learning to be quiet, so that I can hear what He is saying. And I am learning to watch expectantly for what He might be revealing to me.
I hope that with every day that passes, I become a little less surprised when I hear Him.
How about you? Have you heard God speaking your language?