Yesterday it was one year since my father passed away. I have trouble believing a year has passed already! Even in the midst of it all, God has been good.
I recorded a podcast yesterday, which was posted today, and I’ll link to it below. I also posted a video of the podcast on my YouTube channel at the following link: https://youtu.be/JYrK_FNYn7I and the video is nice because you can see all the pictures, whereas with the podcast you’ll just hear the audio.
Since my father was an artist, I’m sharing a bit about the story behind my song “Painter of the Heavens”, as well as a sweet word that I sensed being whispered to my heart yesterday about how God, the true Master Artist, does His beautiful work upon the canvas of our lives.
Story Behind the Song
First, the story behind the song. Some of the details are cloudy in my memory, but this one is very clear: I was about to go on an entrance or exit ramp on the Garden State Parkway, (probably on my way home from a Loving Grace Ministries event or retreat) as the ramp took me around almost in a circle, I suddenly found myself facing west I suppose, and the entire sky was lit up with a gorgeous sunset! Took my breath away, as the search began to find a piece of scrap paper and pen (without taking my eyes off the road) so I could catch the first few words (a skill I have often needed over the years;) … “You’re the Painter of the heavens, the Sculptor of the earth…” and the rest was history. That song ended up being the title song of my first CD, produced by Loving Grace Ministries, https://www.lovinggrace.org (and available through them now). For more info, this link will get you directly to the CD’s page on their website:
As I thought back on some of the days spent with my Dad prior to his passing away, he had been so very complimentary about the things that I’d accomplished, as I’d share the music and videos he had never seen before (using my laptop, by his bedside) since he didn’t use computers, internet, etc. We had one memorable conversation in which I tried to explain to him that all those wonderful things would never have been accomplished if Jesus hadn’t been WITH me the whole way, holding my hands, especially when everything in me clamored to GIVE UP! Jesus was faithful to help me carry on.
My Dad pushed back surprisingly hard on that during that conversation. After he passed away, going through his things at his house, it became apparent just how incredibly prolific he was as an artist. He had a profound talent, and many of his pieces he had never shared with us (at least not with me). He must have spent countless HOURS working on those masterpieces. His catalogue was profoundly impressive, and it was remarkable that most of his family never even knew the half of it. Perhaps he pushed back, because to him, his work was something only HE did, and he took the responsibility, etc. Obviously, he took his craft very seriously.
And yes, of course, we DO have to actually DO the work in this life with our physical bodies…. We can be as inspired as we can imagine, but if we don’t MOVE, nothing will happen. Yet there is a deeper discussion in my mind, and some of it surfaced in an image in my half-asleep state at about 5 AM yesterday.
The Canvas of our Life
While resting, a thought began going through my half-asleep mind. It seemed so beautiful, I got up a couple of times to go write some of it down, knowing that if it wasn’t written down right THEN, the memory would drift away by morning. I had planned to do a podcast about my Dad and about the song, but didn’t know exactly what would be the focus. Well, it came into clear focus alright. It’s a simple but beautiful word about a technique I probably had heard of years ago. Not being an artist myself, and wanting to be sure it didn’t come from the fertile thought processes that go on when you’re in a half dream state (!) I actually checked it out online in the morning to be sure it was really “a thing”. And it is.
Not sure what it’s called, but it has to do with using a black canvas for painting rather than white, and how that contrast can make for a very dramatic painting, etc. You can watch the video (below) that goes with the podcast on my YouTube channel to get more details, but in a nutshell, here’s what was going through the recesses of my sleepy mind.
It’s as though we try to paint on the canvas of our lives by all of our many efforts, some with good results, some not. As it is when you mix all the different colors of paints together, often the result can become a messed up mish-mash of dark brownish black. It reminded me of our sin and sorrows contributing to that bleak scene on our canvas, mixed in with what WE consider our “good” works, when they’re not done “as unto Him”, because as it says in Isaiah 64:6 “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” We try and try, and of course come up short, because we are oh-so-human, after all.
To add insult to injury, the evil one comes along and takes a huge paint brush filled with blackness and covers over our canvas. All seems lost. He tried to do that to Jesus, and THOUGHT that he had been successful to wipe all the beauty out of life on that gruesome day when our Savior died on our behalf. BUT, satan didn’t realize that on the THIRD DAY, his efforts would be swallowed up in victory. Jesus’ new, resurrected Life came forth in bold beautiful brightness as He conquered death.
Here's The Full Podcast Video:
The Lord's Unique Technique
And not only in Jesus’ Life, but also now in the lives of His children, the “Painter of the Heavens” uses bold, beautiful and bright colors to create a breath-taking masterpiece in each of His beloved ones. AND the black background of their canvases only serve to make the brilliant colors MORE spectacular.
It’s as though the Lord uses oil paints, which do not blend in or get contaminated by that black canvas, but stand out in contrast. And it strikes me funny that He should use “oil” paints, LOL. Really though, His Holy Spirit does do a beautiful creative work in us, and the oil often represents His Spirit…. Just sayin’ :).
Also, His painting method seems to be centered around using LIGHT to paint also. And when all the colors of light are blended together, they make white, not black, light, not dark. The brightness of Jesus’ presence in our lives stands out in stark contrast to the darkness that the evil one tried to use to create sorrow upon sorrow. Jesus now adds joy upon joy, praise His name.
All that to say, if you know Jesus and can resonate with feeling that the evil one has been pouring out the blackness onto your canvas, I pray that the Lord will let you see that the darkness of that background (sin, guilt, sorrow, bitterness, etc.) has all been washed under His blood. Now, as He applies HIS paint to your life’s canvas, the colors will pop in stunning brilliance in comparison to the person you USED to be…. I pray that He’ll move your heart and encourage you with that image.
If you DON’T yet know Jesus, first, thanks for reading this far! Secondly, let me encourage you to take that black canvas that represents trying to do this life on your own… And all the sorrows of this life…. And all the cruelty of satan. Take it and lay it down at the feet of Jesus. He bids us to come humbly before Him. No doubt, He will pick up that black canvas and start to paint. When the Master Artist gets hold of that canvas of your life, the brilliance will stun those around you, and probably will stun YOU the most. He loves you, and wants to paint your life as beautifully and skillfully as He paints sunsets and sunrises every day.
God bless and keep you.