When I was little I was once painting this picture. I just had this beautiful art piece in my mind and I was going to make it perfect. I worked and worked. Finally, I stepped back and was like, “Yes. This is it. This is beautiful. This is what I had in mind.”
Oh… wait. Everything is beautiful in this, except that butterfly wing. It’s not as smooth as the last one.
So I pressed my watercolor brush into the black color palette and swished it around. I lifted it up and over the painting. As I did this, a drop fell from the brush and landed on the paper.
The piece was RUINED. No. How could this have happened? The picture had been perfect. But now it had this stupid black dot. It looked horrible.
My little heart was broken. I remember crying and pulling my mother over, my hands stretched out.
“Look what happened. It’s ruined. I have to throw it away and start all over,” I said.
My mother hushed me and picked the brush up.
“It’s not so bad. You know, Gracie, art isn’t about perfection. The art piece is never going to turn out just the way you want it. It’s about making the mistakes into something more beautiful than you originally imagined,” she said.
I sat down beside her and watched as she began to move that drop up and down on the painting. She added some brown and green. Before I knew it, the ugly drop on the painting had turned into a beautiful, luscious tree. It was far better than my small mind could have ever imagined.
I have never forgotten that. I think God does the same thing with us.
He made this perfect world with perfect people. Everything was pure. Everything was right. But then we took the paintbrush and dropped a splash of black paint in it.
It was ruined. Adam and Eve freaked out. They had ruined God’s masterpiece. They destroyed every perfect thing within seconds.
But they didn’t understand. God is an artist. God is THE artist.
He took the paintbrush back and said, “It’s okay, I can make a beautiful tree from this.”
And He did. He stepped back and saw where the good could come from the mess they had created. He turned it into something wonderful.
But He didn’t stop there. He then moved on to everyone else in the world. He takes all of our screw ups. He turns it all into something beautiful and radiant.
Of course, it isn’t easy to fix those mistakes. It takes time, patience, and sometimes you aren’t sure if it’s going to turn out in the end. But when we are following God’s guidance, it always turns out.
God isn’t one of those artists who hates everything they put onto a canvas. He’s in love with His creations.
I have found that many artists can look at a piece of art that is truly awful and be excited. They are excited because they can see the potential. They can see the beauty that it could have; it only needs a few hours of work. God does the same. He sees the messes we are and is excited to be in a relationship with us. He wants to transform us if only we would give Him the paintbrush.
It’s so hard for me to give up that paintbrush and recognize that I am not an artist who is capable of making my life into something beautiful.
It would be like Van Gogh messing up Starry Night and me trying to fix it. I couldn’t do it. I’m not Van Gogh. I don’t have the experience, the knowledge, or skill for anything of that sort.
When Adam and Eve dripped black into the world, God knew how to fix it. He drew a cross. And then he painted perfection into it.
He painted Jesus.
He wrote us a handbook on how He is using the paintbrush. He wants us to learn and understand why we need Him. He showed us that we needed to put our faith in Him as the artist above all others. He gave us the choice to choose whether or not we wanted to give Him our paintbrushes.
I was 4 years old when I handed my paintbrush over to Him. My life. My identity. My everything. I don’t think I fully knew what I was doing. How can any 4-year-old know?
All I knew was that I wasn’t a very good artist. From what I had heard, Jesus was a much better one. I knew he could paint beautiful things in my life, if only I would let Him.
As a 4-year-old…
- I recognized that God loved the people he painted into the world so much that He gave His one and only son so that we would not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
- I recognized that I couldn’t transform all the drops of paint by myself (Romans 5:8).
- I recognized that God loved me and everyone else so much that He didn’t wait for me to make the painting good enough before stepping in and dying so that He could make it beautiful (John 1:12).
- I recognized that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes through the Father except through Him.
- I chose to accept Christ into my life and put my faith and trust in Him.
In the end, isn’t this the only decision that really matters?
When I got a little bit older I heard a music artist talking on the radio. He was talking about his younger years and how he had accepted Christ into his life. He said that he just wanted to go by God’s plan. So he gave his life to Jesus and asked that whatever God wanted him to be, to let that be so. In a matter of words he said, “It’s not my painting, it’s yours God.”
For some reason this always stuck with me. For the first time, I truly understood what I was doing when I gave my life to Christ.
God doesn’t look down at us and see the black dots we are dripping everywhere. He sees the potential and the greatness we can reach if only we let Him use us.
And there is nothing more beautiful than that.
Let me end with this:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.