Lessons from a Paint By Number
One of the things that I have been doing to keep myself busy during my downtime is completing a good old fashioned paint by number. They are making a comeback, ya know! My mom reminded me that my grandparents used to have them in their house when I was young but they were mostly of clowns and mountains. Let’s just say though, paint by numbers have come a long way in 40 years.
As I first took my canvas out of the package and carefully unrolled it, I will admit that I got overwhelmed. My eyes bulged a little as they tried to make out the approximately 86 trillion individual spaces to paint in with numbers that you might need a magnifying glass to see. I actually gave it a second thought because it looked too daunting and tedious for me to do. But...I tackled it anyway.
I prepared my canvas. Chose an area to start and began working on it. Little teeny number by number. One at a time. I loved every second of it. I was fully focused on my task on hand. I was making brush strokes and filling in empty spaces in order to work towards my finished masterpiece. Sometimes, the paint placement didn’t make any sense to me, but I knew that it didn’t matter. It would all come together in the end when it was finished. Then, I will see. It was going to be amazing.
On day 2 as I had began to paint, I had a revelation that made me pause and I have not been able to get it out of my head since. (This is how I always know I am supposed to do something...when it won’t go away.)
My paint by number is a great metaphor for what God does in our lives.
Work with me here.
Imagine that we are the canvas and God is the painter. He laid out our lives ahead of us (which are the different numbers to be filled in). We see the 86 trillion numbers. God sees where the paint - the experiences, trials, joys, sorrows, suffering, love, laughter, relationships, tears, mistakes, faith, understanding, hope and trust - is going to go. He sees the bigger picture. He is looking at it from a view that we cannot see from where we are.
He sees the grace where we see the space. He sees the piece de resistance while we see #12 paint - which is suffering. He knows that after suffering, there will come #14 paint - joy. I wish we could see that, but our view is too limited.
Color by color, number by number, we become who we are through Him.
Sometimes, He completes huge amounts of one paint or large clusters of paint at what will seem like, all at one time. It is patterned throughout our canvas with no particular rhyme or reason....to us. We have to trust that the great artist knows what he is doing. I know that we can’t see it, but we have to remember that we are not God. We are looking at our paint from ground level.
As time progresses, we experience more trials, more joy, more sorrow etc. and we wonder why. Why did you let this happen, Lord? I am hurting right now. Or, Thank you, God, for all of my blessings. I can’t believe this happened! Or, Thank God THAT is over!
My dear child, wait until you see what I see. One day you will. You are only seeing it from up-close. I see it from heaven.
In due time. Right now, this is what you need to feel or go through. It cannot be rushed.
Soon, you will see your flower complete and you will understand.
And one day we do. We get to see ourselves as God created us to be. We will realize that all of the trials, the love, laughter, tears, suffering, and joy made us into this spectacular masterpiece. We will understand that we had to go through all of those things so that we could have this AMAZING testimony about what He can do in our lives. Every single paint stroke was made for a reason. There was a plan.
I hope you let Him do it - paint your picture. I hope that you don’t throw away your valuable showpiece because you don’t understand what had to go into it to making it. I know that we can’t see the bigger picture. We aren’t supposed to. That is where trust and faith come in.
There is a reason.
Things might not have gone the way YOU wanted to and that is OK. They will come out better, even when you can’t see it right away. You are being prepared. You are being pruned; painted over by the greatest artist that has existed since the beginning and will never end. The King of Kings, The Almighty, The Holy One, The Great Shepherd, The Light of the World, and The Author and Perfecter of our Faith is painting YOUR picture. My picture. He knows what He is doing. Promise.
Thank you so much for reading today. I hope that I made you smile and think a little bit. Be sure to check out my Podcast on iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher ---- Jen’s 10 G’s