By Jamie Martelle
When I was a little girl, my mom was a cook at a nursing home, out in the country in Milford. I would go to work with her sometimes, and my favorite thing to do there, besides gazing at the peacocks strutting their stuff (from a distance, because they were mean!), was to go to the art room with Mary Ann Miller, the lady who was apparently the residents’ art instructor, or activities coordinator. To me, Mary Ann was the keeper of the paints and brushes and all things creative and wonderful. Mary Ann would sit me down at a table with a project and talk to me while I dabbled away at my childish efforts of creating a masterpiece. I can remember a picture of a mouse wearing a dashing little outfit and hat, a cartoon sketch, that Mary Ann would transpose magically on a piece of wood, and then I could fill in the lines with brilliant shades of purple and orange, with gray or brown for the mouse’s fur (or is it hair?). While it was great fun to bring that little character to life on the surface of whatever it was I was painting on, I yearned to create a scene of my own making. Occasionally I’d give it a try – Mary Ann was very agreeable and accommodating – and it was certainly a fun adventure for me to see what I could come up with, but it always fell short of my hopes and anticipation of what it could become.
There is a masterpiece in the making, and you and I are a part of it. It will be finished someday, and we’ll be astounded to behold it in all of its glory. The most amazing thing about it is that it is ongoing, and changing all the time, as time goes on and all of God’s creation goes through the birth pains of what is coming. If you’ve ever seen Bob Ross on PBS, creating a landscape scene of happy little trees, hills, and puddles, you’ve witnessed how these things take shape on the canvas in his discretion and under his hand. When something doesn’t go quite the way he planned, he says there are no mistakes, only happy accidents, and he changes plans and creates something new out of it. God does not make mistakes, nor does He have “accidents.” Every nuance of the work He is creating is perfect under His hand. All the detours that you and I take in our lives that vary from the best of what God has to offer us add to the painting, all of our lives are taken into account; some parts are shrouded in darkness as we have ventured off on our own away from His light. He even uses those places to somehow add to the beauty He is working out in each of our lives. Other parts are brilliant and filled with light and color and hope where we have found ourselves journeying closely with our Creator, becoming all He intended us to be.
There is a masterpiece in the making, and you and I are a part of it. It will be finished someday, and we’ll be astounded to behold it in all of its glory. The most amazing thing about it is that the Painter is God Himself, and because of Christ, you and I get to be a part of it. Because God sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins, so we could be partakers of His life—abundant, eternal life with Him. This ache in our hearts that tells us there has got to be something more than this world offers, is the proof of His existence and His drawing us toward Him and our heavenly home. God will not be disappointed in His finished work, and neither will we.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:22-25)
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39-39)
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:3-5)