"Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone."
n April 3, 2011, I was attending a 3-day Christian retreat called the Walk to Emmaus with my dad and three of my sons. I gave a talk Saturday afternoon about Christian action and one of the statements I made that day was, "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called."
While speaking those words, I had no idea God was going to put that theory to the test with me the following day. On Sunday morning, I woke up with Him speaking to me with a very clear message.
The day before, I was looking at a couple pictures of Jesus by different artists. I made several subconscious statements to God about how I didn't like the way the artists represented Him as being some frail, weak guy. My vision of Jesus has always been a strong, handsome man with a great smile and eyes that could pierce clear through you.
So, that day God gave me a very strong confirmation that I was suppose to paint a portrait of Him to share to the world. One that realistically represented the vision He would give to me.
I always felt since Jesus was God's only son and God created everything, He certainly would have created Jesus to be the ideal man. In addition to His perfect and sinless nature, why wouldn't God make Jesus the most handsome, strong, Jewish man who was ever born? That is exactly the vision He gave me that day.
There was only one problem with this equation. I was not a portrait artist and for that matter, I really hadn't oil painted since I was a little boy. It's pretty easy to blow off such an unrealistic notion like that and just say, "Sorry God, but I'm not qualified for that job". Unfortunately, when God gets an idea in His mind, He pretty much sticks with it. I came home Sunday night and could hardly sleep for three nights. If you knew me, you would know sleeping is not one of my problems. After three nights of restless sleep, I finally gave in and went to Hobby Lobby to see about getting some supplies to do this job He was calling me to do.
When I got there, I was blown away at the cost of oil paints, brushes, canvases, and all the necessary items I needed to get this job done. As I was standing in the aisle, I prayed to God to give me an answer to this problem. I didn’t have the extra money at the time and the cost of supplies I felt I needed went way into the hundreds of dollars. After all, I felt I needed the best of everything to do this job for Him. But God, answered me very clearly by saying, "Get the cheapest of everything, I'll take care of making it the best".
I guess the rest of the story is pretty much a miracle in my mind. Since I had never painted a portrait and had not painted with oils since the second grade, I was clueless what I was doing. With the Holy Spirit guiding my hands, I was truly amazed at how the painting began to look just like the image that Jesus placed in my mind. I would never begin to say that this is exactly what Jesus looks like, but I do know it is the image He gave me. One thing for sure, there is absolutely no way I could paint like that without Him working through me.
My hope and prayer is He will use this painting and this story to touch many lives and bring those who are lost to know Him. I really appreciate you taking the time to hear how God used me to create something far greater than I could ever accomplish on my own. May we always listen to the little whispers from Him and always be honored to be His children and servants.
In His service,