Art galleries and museums are some of the most intriguing places to visit. There is beauty, emotion, and a story to behold within their walls. Each piece was designed for a specific purpose, each piece thought out before creation. And when we view one, we catch a glimpse as to who the artist is as a person.
Typically, when we think of great artists we think of da Vinci or Van Gogh. Da Vinci’s works, from his paintings to his schematics, reveal a mind that pays very close attention to detail in hopes of creating something as close to the real thing as he could get on canvas or paper. While Van Gogh on the other hand focused more on creating impressions of his experiences, leaving his work not as detailed as da Vinci’s. Both artists created beautiful pieces before they passed away, yet we can tell based upon their techniques who was the more logical/scientific of the two and who might have been more emotional.
When we apply this in the spiritual sense we begin to be astounded. Often times, we forget how great and wonderful our Heavenly Father is as an artist. He is the best artist in the universe, for not only can He make amazing and astonishing things but He can also bring them to life. No other artist in the universe can do that. One of the major things we can notice about God’s works of art — i.e. everything that exists in reality — is the details. And these details surpass da Vinci’s by a long shot!
Switching gears to the sculpting aspect of art for a moment, almost everyone in art has seen a picture of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ at some point or another. This excellent work is detailed and nearly life-like in appearance (aside from the fact that it’s 17 feet tall). Passersby have stared and marveled at it several times over, yet hardly anyone thinks to ask how long it took to create the statue. It took Michelangelo 2 years (almost 3) to complete this one, singular piece because of the detail and dedication he put into it. 2-3 years is a lot of time to put into something. To put that much time and effort into something is to really care for the thing you are working on. Not to mention the joy you get when you finally finish after all that work and you sit back and admire how well it turned out.
I believe this is how God feels when He welcomes one of His children home. One who He designed before birth, applied His words to their life after salvation, and humbled themselves enough to allow Him to guide them throughout their days. One who became a good and faithful servant until the end.
“The Lord you God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”Zephaniah 3:17
One of the issues we have, though, during our walk with the Lord is that we get too close to the picture. Yes, we are the masterpieces of God’s handiwork, but apart of who we are is the journey we have through life. So, imagine walking into an art gallery or museum, trying to find something pretty to brighten your sour mood, and finding a painting as big as the wall it is on that’s only partially done. The part that has been painted is a detailed depiction of what you’re life has been thus far. As you gaze at it in fascination, reflecting on all that has happened in your past and all God has done for you, Jesus walks up beside you. You ask why the piece isn’t finished and He replies, “because I haven’t revealed to you all the plans I have for you”.
However, you notice a brush and some paint in His hands, so you wait without a word. He begins to paint your present moment, including a few days ago since He hadn’t added that yet and a few things passed your present situation that you don’t recognize. As you wait, you notice something dark and negative was depicted in the recent past. Your gaze tries to move on until someone comes up on your other side and points it out again. You realize it’s that awful day you had at the beginning of the week where everything seemed to go wrong. You did things that day out of frustration and anger that you aren’t proud of, and Jesus knew it enough to paint it. Every day since that day seems to go further and further downhill. Although, Jesus is beside you painting, you feel far away from Him. The person next to you isn’t helping either; he’s laughing, repeating how much you messed up. You become angry with yourself, your situation, maybe even life in general, and begin to weep.
Jesus comes to you and askes what has upset you. You explain, pointing to that negative image, never moving your finger nor eyes to anywhere else in the painting. The other person is snickering, telling you this is it, this is where Jesus informs you He doesn’t love you anymore. That’s why all the bad things are happening, right? That’s why you feel so far away from Him.
Before He responds to your explanation, Jesus first removes the other person who is actually one of the enemy’s minions in disguise sent to drag you down. Next, Jesus calms you and shows you what else He had painted. He guides you a few steps back from the painting and draws your attention to a set of the images you didn’t recognize. The first is Him giving you a loving hug to comfort you and the rest of the set is images of sunny days filled with joy. Not understanding, you turn to Him and He gives you a loving hug to comfort you. Then it clicks. The sunny days of joy are next. This set of images you didn’t recognize is the future and it has just became the present.
Friends, sometimes we are too close to the picture, focusing too much on a small detail in the grand scheme of things to see the painting for its whole. Some details God designed, some are caused by the enemy, and some come from our own flesh. When we focus on one particular detail, we miss out on what God wants to provide. We will have weeks that are downright awful. The enemy will do everything he and his minions can to give us those weeks or even days. Yet, if we take a step back and see it from God’s point of view (because He can see the whole picture at all times) we can draw strength from Him. The detail could be a Job moment, but the big picture is that though you are suffering God promises joy at the end. The detail could even be defeating a giant like young David, but if David continued to live in that wonderful moment, gazing only at that detail in his life’s painting, instead of moving onward with his life he might have missed out on a bigger blessing.
Our past isn’t there to be lived in, it’s there to remind us where we come from (an empty life with a lost soul) and why we’re here (because Jesus loved us enough to save us). Details are to be enjoyed or endured in the moment, but not to be lingered upon. If we stand too close to the painting, we’ll miss the beauty God created in its wholeness.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”Isaiah 43:19
“Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”John 13:7