Today I introduced my kids to a show that used to mesmerize me as a child.
I am not sure how the gentle and soft-spoken tones of Bob Ross captured my complete attention. I can remember sitting at my grandmother's house and all else would fade away as I watched this man with very frizzy hair create a masterpiece of nature on canvas.
Now this show is on Netflix.
And guess what?
Those old episodes still draw you in.
We were fixated on the television like we were watching some brilliant magic show.
My kids even said things like, "How does he do that" and "I can't believe the trees look so real."
It does seem magical.
The artist can see in advance what we (the audience) cannot see.
He has already envisioned it.
He takes a plain canvas and brings life. Literally a scene comes into view that delights everything about what the eye is seeing.
At one point today he began painting the sky over an ocean at sunset.
He mixed colors that one would never dream to use in a sunset.
If I told you to picture a sunset in your mind's eye you would think warm colors....oranges, yellows, reds, pinks and purples.
Those colors were present just as you would imagine.
But then he blended in some darkness.
Blunt bruising type colors.
He would take his paint brush and merge those warm colors with hints of black, dark blue, and deep purple.
The contrast was stark at moments and you would almost think he had ruined the picture.
But blending those colors brought the depth that made it look completely real.
The dark ominous colors made the light colors richer somehow.
Immediately the Lord spoke to me.....
There are so many times that I seem to follow the picture He is painting in the story of my life. I enjoy it even. Some times it is the cool colors of refreshing and encouragement. Other times I enjoy the warm colors that seem to let me bask in love, mercy, and grace.
Its the moments when he jabs the canvas with darkness that my view of the masterpiece become jaded.
The dark colors represent fear, doubt, uncertainty and the unknown to me.
And yet....it is the blending of dark colors that adds the depth and realness like nothing else.
Nothing shook up my faith in the Lord Jesus until my world went black.
My Savior saw the picture in advance.
He added deliberate darkness to my life.
And the blending began.
Today I see shades and hues of beauty that would have never existed without the brutality of that darkness.
For almost 14 years He has been painting a masterpiece of redemption and faith in my life.
The faith that has to work when nothing else will.
Once upon a time my faith was built upon predictability.
THAT is no faith at all.
Jesus loved me enough to help me shed a false faith.
He knew true satisfaction would come with trust.
And trust only happens when we get to know Him.
Scratching the surface of Jesus was no longer enough.
I had to know Him.
I wanted all of Him.
I needed Him more than my next breath.
The darkness did that.
With a brilliancy that confounds me....my Maker knew that despair would drive me to desperation and desperation would give me depth.
How deep the Father's love for us.
How vast beyond all measure.
That He would give his only Son;
To make a wretch His treasure.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night." Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness is as light to You...