“For you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” (Malachi 4:2)
Working on a black canvas conjures up a lot of thoughts for me like the beginning of creation. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters (Genesis 1:1). I often think about that darkness so void of life and light, so vague and meaningless. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light (Genesis 1:1). Then God spoke light. Within that light, life existed. What wonder! What power!
Then I think of the darkness of my life as I walked in sin. Spiritually blind, I stumbled, was bruised, lame, and torn. No good thing existed in me. Then I cried out to Jesus and His light shined in my heart. For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (Ephesians 5:8).
Although I now walk in the Light of Jesus Christ, there have been periods of darkness—loneliness, depression, grief. Yes, Christians do travel through tunnels, sit in dark corners, and weather storms. But we have hope of seeing the Light again if we persevere. The darkest of nights give way to the Bright Morning Star. Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
The final area I tend to see when I look at my black canvas is this dark and dying world in which we live. As Jesus is the Light of our lives, we are to be reflectors of that Light. Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God], so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness], holding out and offering to everyone the word of life (Philippians 2:14-16 AMP)
As I study my canvas, I have choices to make. I can walk away, leaving it black, dismal, pointless. I never thought about God having a choice in creating the universe. But He did. He could have shrugged and left the darkness void, shapeless, and meaningless. But He didn’t. He created. Not only that, He chose to create mankind in His image, giving us free-will, capable of making our own choices.
Because I have the God-given ability to make decisions, I chose to paint a sunrise. I chose the size of the canvas. I chose the colors of the sunrise. I chose to make it appear as though there is water reflecting the brilliance of the sunrise. And I chose to stretch trees with leaves from islands, to flick on grasses growing in the foreground, and to have shimmering waves swirl around the shore.
Having the freedom of choice is a wonderful gift from God. It extends itself to every area in our lives every day, every moment. We make choices.
During my walk in sin and spiritual darkness, I had a choice to make…a life or death choice. I could’ve remained on the path I was on. Life wasn’t so bad. But it was still the path that led to death. When I heard about the Light of Jesus, the promise of eternal life through Him, I chose life.
When I walked in His Light and still discovered myself in a dark valley of depression, I was perplexed, lonely, and desperate. I now understand my state was more a state of oppression. The enemy had captured me and held me hostage. I could’ve surrendered and stayed there. But I had known the Light. I wanted to see and experience the Light again. So I chose to search for the Light. And like night gives way to the morning sun, the depression eventually gave way to the Bright Morning Star. The enemy had to let go of me, because the Light of Jesus Christ is more powerful than the Darkness.
Yet, we remain in this world of darkness. Evil casts a long, dreary shadow over our current society. But God has stationed each of us as His Light-bearers to shine as beacons so that others can find their way to Him. Again we have choices to make. Do we stay silent and hope someone notices our light? Do we purposely glare out lights in their faces, blinding them to the true Light? Or do we, like the shimmering waves in the paintings, gently, soothingly, lovingly guide those around us to the Bright, Morning Star.
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you and to give you assurance of these things for the churches. I am the Root (the Source, the Life) and the Offspring of David, the radiant and bright Morning Star” (Revelations 22:16).
See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks
If your group is interested in an art class, you can find my contact information here.
These are more practice paintings I did for the class. The bottom two paintings were done by 13-year-old twins who never tried painting before. They did excellent, don’ you think?
These paintings were done by my family members. They were kind enough to sit through another practice run for me.
The last painting (18 x 24) will be offered as a donation to the New Harvest Community Church. They may use it for a door prize for the event or raffle it off to benefit the church, missions, or a charity of their choice. If your group books an art class, I’ll donate an original painting similar to this one.