Whenever Heart of Flesh opens for submissions, there is often an air of excitement, followed by surprise at the quality and quantity of work being submitted, and then awe and wonder at the creation ascending from the submission pile. It’s a beautiful process that I feel blessed to be a part of. But there is also an element of stress that threatens to overwhelm the whole experience. I often have to remind myself that Jesus is in control, first in command, and whatever is sent our way, whatever I feel compelled to do with our contributors’ work, must ultimately be given up to Him — clay to be shaped in the Potter’s hands into something comprehensive and meaningful.
I didn’t deliberately plan a theme for Issue #4, but as I poured over the pieces in this issue, I noticed a subtle theme emerge. Maybe it’s a theme only I notice, as it’s probably no coincidence that it’s a theme I’m often drawn to — soft light flickering in a dark place; a whisper heard through the chaos and noise — God’s whisper — easy to miss, yet more powerful than any force on earth, heard by all who have ears to hear.
As I meditated on God’s whisper, I thought of Elijah — overwhelmed, fearful because of Jezebel’s death threats, isolated — as he waited for the Lord to speak to Him:
“…Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”(1 Kings 19:11-12, NIV)
God is not the storm. He’s the calm in the middle of the storm, beyond it. It’s so easy to get bogged down in this world — to feel the weight of ugliness, hate, destruction, emptiness, and depression pushing down on us. If you’re not careful, life will try its best to crush you. But something gentle exists outside of it, under the coarse fabric of things. There is a soft voice waiting for you to listen and hear. And it’s so easy to drown it out, to overlook it, to pretend it doesn’t exist, or simply not hear it through the noise.
Jesus is the whisper in the chaos. Our contributors see Him in the peripheral, call out to Him from the dark places and wait for His voice, feel the peace in His gentle light, or recognize the weight of His absence in an absurd, seemingly meaningless world.
In this issue, you’ll find laughter and despair, the everyday moments and the sublime, brokenness and healing, pain and joy, and in everything, bubbling underneath the surface, Jesus — waiting, whispering, and placing His finger on everything.
I hope you hear the voice of Jesus whispering through these works. I hope His quiet flame lights a fire in your soul, and dispels the darkness in your corner of the world.
It is my pleasure and honor to present these talented writers and artists of Issue #4, both Christians and non-Christians from around the world.
Thank you for reading, and God bless.
Artwork: “Ruth, Naomi, and Orpah” by Veronica McDonald (2018)