This poem reflects on the glory of God, as well as the shortcomings, benefits, and necessity of being a Christian in a fallen generation. The poem ends with God himself responding to the doubts of Brother Humbled, the pride of Two Dope, and addressing issues mentioned throughout the book.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
Imago Dei is a Latin phrase meaning “image of God.” It’s a theological term which describes man’s relationship with God and the uniqueness which is endowed in mankind. As image-bearers, we were made to reflect God’s divine nature through our free will, rationality, creativeness, and self-actualization.
God, I’m your messed up messenger.
You wonderfully made me.
It’s an honor to be an heir of privilege,
a visionary for the Invisible King.
In this moment of vulnerability, Brother Humbled is admitting his innermost thoughts and feelings to God. He opens up the dialogue with praise and thankfulness.
The world needs to see You,
but I’m a foggy window to Your glory.
Brother Humbled feels like he hasn’t been an effective Christian lately. His personal weaknesses prevented him from living out his Christian purpose.
I sought comfort in Pan’s thinking and suicidal thoughts.
I was a deer in headlights,
on a wrong path trying to veer right.
“Pan’s thinking” can refer to Peter Pan (youthful thinking) or the Greek god of nature and sexuality (desiring personal pleasure). Coupled with the suicidal thoughts that has probably plagued Brother Humbled at some point, it’s clear that he was not at peace with himself. He was stuck in these destructive thoughts, desperately trying to walk the right path.
My good deeds are just scuffs on a dirty rag.
Yet You washed my heart clean of all iniquities.
Even with the best of intentions, Brother Humbled is still a human who good for the sake of others’ praise and self-importance. But God was still loving enough to pursue him and rid him of sin.
If I’m blessed, it’s Your decision.
If I’m depressed, it’s Your benediction.
The good and bad things that affected Brother Humbled were not outside of God’s control. If anything, God’s sovereignty is what Brother Humbled to this point.
This might not be the perfect prayer.
At times it feel like
I’m having conversations with dust particles
while Your back is giving me the cold shoulder.
The tone takes a critical shift as Brother Humbled laments on his current situation and past scenarios, wondering where God was in the midst of it.
I’m carrying my burdens, the size of boulders.
Yet You have the nerve
to rain down your blessings for others on earth.
This section evokes the image of Brother Humbled carrying his struggles on his own, while God blindly fulfills the desires of everyone else. This bitterness to God stems from the loneliness he’s always felt throughout his life.
I’m tightrope walking the narrow road
with bruised feet, struggling not to fall off.
A callback to “In The Night,” a piece about maintaining the Christian walk in the midst of temptation.
I continually fall short of holding Your pierced hands.
What more do You want from me, a man?
This prayer ends in a question. He waits for a response as he summarizes what he’s been through to God. How can a mere man please a perfect God?
It can also be seen as “amen,” the common word which ends a prayer. Even in this painful moment, Brother Humbled chooses to trust God by confiding in Him through prayer.
Brother Humbled, mercifully have I kept you.
You are my image bearer.
God’s response to Brother Humbled is reminiscent of His response to Job. In both cases, God chooses to exemplify His sovereignty over His creation. Through this response, God shows His mercy and fatherly love towards His wayward son.
I bore your sins.
The weight of the world wore me down, but
I dealt the mortal blow to death.
With my final breath, I laid it to rest.
The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith. It’s what initiates new believers into the faith.
So have your questions.
I give you my Word, I answered them.
God isn’t telling Brother Humbled to have blind faith, but to have faith in what has been revealed to him through his Word (the Bible or Jesus Christ).
For your debts, I’d endure millions of crosses
to get the point across that you are worth every second.
Even though Jesus doesn’t have to, He loves His own creation enough to give His life for it.
No matter the pace of the race.
You are still covered by grace.
You are forever forgiven.
You are My imperfect portrait.
Humans have the special privilege of communing with the Creator of the universe. It’s a privilege that both Christians and non-Christians tend to take for granted.
We began this journey with Two Dope, who reveled in any opportunity of being adored and loved. Receiving worldly glory and praise defined his life, up until his pride led to his own downfall.
Brother Humbled then entered the picture and he started out as the opposite of Two Dope. Humble and willing to serve, he was willing to embrace his need for God and to trust him completely.
These two characters are two sides of the same coin. It’s one person living life a certain way, then making the change to live a different way. It represents the dynamic nature of the human experience. We aren’t always bound to our past failures, and the future remains a mystery that may lead to better days.
We are all imperfect portraits. Paintings wanting to be the painter. God knows this and loves us in spite of it. It’s a reality that defies human understanding, but it’s the truth that defines our humanity. Love is real. Change is possible. It’s not something that we can create, but is given to us as a gift.
God’s final line of the poem reveals an important truth: He loves us and there’s nothing you can do about it. You can either accept it or reject it, but it won’t make Him disappear. So find solace in your imperfections. You were painted for a purpose.