The following is an illustration, or my interpretation of it, from the book, Your God is Too Small by J.B. Phillips.
As I read the words and the tears hit the page, I knew.
A man saw a clean, white canvas hanging on the wall. Having some confidence in his creativity and his ability to paint, he picked up a paint brush and begin to create what he thought would be a beautiful picture.
He worked hard on his creation. He added colors to transfer the picture he had in his mind onto the canvas. If he made a mistake, he took the brush and with a quick stroke he covered it up so no one could see.
When he was finally finished with his design, he laid down the brush and stepped away to admire the work of his hands.
What he realized, as he stepped away to gaze upon his painting, was that he had not painted on a clean, white canvas. With the whole wall in sight, he saw that what he had painted on was a huge, unique and incredibly beautiful masterpiece.
The man had been so impressed with his abilities, and so preoccupied with the picture he had in his mind, that he did not see what had already been created. Something planned and created by the author of perfection and beauty.
The man's heart was broken as he understood what his hands had done. He was broken as he looked at the masterpiece and saw his childish scribbling and cheap graffiti.
What does a person do when they realize they have ruined a masterpiece?
What does a person do when they see that their plans, and their ideas, and the pictures they had in their minds about the way life was supposed to look, only created a picture that was a cheap imitation?
The Creator of the masterpiece, the masterpiece now scarred and damaged, calls us to Himself and says...
We can trust Him.
He tells us that "He is good, and ready to forgive, and that He is abundant in mercy to all who call upon Him." Psalm 86:5
He tells us that our hope is in His mercy and in His redemption. "That He is a God full of compassion, and that He is gracious, and longsuffering and abundant in mercy." Psalm 8:15
He tells us that it is "He who redeems our life from destruction, who crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies." Psalm 103:4
This weekend I saw the mercy and grace and compassion God is using to paint a new masterpiece for our family.
I saw His patience and lovingkindness as His hand is sweeping across a new canvas.
To be honest, there are some things in our picture I'd rather not have.
There are scenes in this new masterpiece I've asked Him to leave out, to paint over, but He has chosen to include them.
There are strokes He is making, as well as strokes He is allowing, that I don't understand and that cause me to wonder how in the world He will make something beautiful out of them.
How in the world will He use those dark, ugly colors, the ones that cause pain and tears, to make something good and perfect?
And then I remember the ugliness and the beauty of the cross.
One day our masterpiece will be done. The veil will be removed and we will see the beauty of what He has created.
Until then, I pray, "Lord, keep my hands off the brush. Help me to trust Your Hands."
How could I not?
"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:32
This weekend God gave me a little glimpse of our masterpiece and it was all very good.
Obviously, our Artist really likes the colors of love and laughter and a whole lot of grace.
MY GRATITUDE LIST
285. The Perfect Creator
286. A new masterpiece
287. Seeing what you've done and hearing His voice calling at the same time
288. Mercy in abundance
289. A God full of compassion
290. Being crowned with lovingkindness and tender mercies
291. The Father who didn't spare His Son
292. A God who can only paint with Grace
293. Laughing until it hurts
294. The older brother saying I love you to the younger
295. The younger brother saying I love you back to the older
296. Being in the back seat of a car listening to my children sing
297. The color of blue that can't be described
298. My pastor's first words on Sunday being the same my best friend and I had shared a few days before
299. Not having to ask someone to walk beside you
300. A love that can't keep its hands to itself