On the wall in my office is a simple watercolor of a single artist’s paint brush, laid horizontally. Printed discreetly beneath the brush is this quiet, artist’s prayer: “Paint in my life a portrait of Jesus.” I treasure this art print, a gift from a Vineyard pastor/artist. But maybe I love this piece because of something more, something that sounds deeply Scriptural, something that is profoundly in sync with the life to which Jesus invites us. I can almost hear Jesus gently saying, ‘I am painting in your life a portrait of Me.’
John tells us that God is Love. Jesus is God. Therefore, Jesus is Love. He invites us to himself. He invites us to Love, a life of love. “When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us . . . There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. We . . . are going to love – love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.” 1 John 4:16-19, MSG.
So, following the painterly line of thought above, if my life is a waiting sheet of pure cotton watercolor paper, and Jesus is the watercolor artist, he, then, is masterfully adding colors and shapes, some darker, some brighter or paler, some well-defined (breakthrough moments?) others blurred with dripping (seasons of hardship, questioning, disobedience, fear?). It may be that partway through, the work (me) seems disjointed and chaotic, lacking direction and focus, but, when finished, is a masterwork by the Master Painter. He has known, from the beginning, where he was heading with ‘me.’ Admittedly, my perception has often been that there were many coincidences, missteps, and wrong choices, and his interventions have only been perceived ‘in the rearview mirror.’ The strange thing is that if I had the honor of watching a master artist at work, I would never doubt that they knew exactly what they were doing and how they were progressing toward their goal. So, maybe I should rest, fully confident, with Jesus’ reassuring words in my ear: “I am painting in your life a portrait of me, Don.” Ahh. PD