At the art museum with my husband I saw many different types of art. There were sculptures and paintings. There were other things I’m not sure what they were called. Of the paintings, I liked the ones that had the most intricate backgrounds.
Some of the paintings were very large. When I walked up close to them I could see the individual pieces. I could see the clouds floating in the sky. I could see the flock of birds flying behind the tree. The tree had a broken limb, hanging down behind it. The mouse peeked out behind the limb. The cat crouched not far away behind the bush. The grass was long and waved in the wind. The barn off to the side has paint peeling in places. The sun hangs low in the sky.
But when I walked away from the painting and looked back, all I could see was the girl standing in the foreground, her hat sweeping her face so that I only saw her lazy smile. The background didn’t seem all that important.
Our lives are like that. What is happening right now is the most important thing. The challenges or problems, exciting opportunities, devastating illnesses, losses, grief, births, deaths, they all seem overwhelming and so big. But eventually they will fade into the background of life to become a part of our history. They shape our decisions, our choices and our character.
The background shows how we have survived. Sometimes how we fared well and sometimes how we did not. Sometimes we hang on to losses, hurt, grief and unforgiveness until it turns to bitterness. This changes the hues of our background and our foreground. The colors turn sinister and dark.
Then we let go of our hurt and we heal. Our colors brighten and show joy, peace once again. So when people look at our paintings, what do they see?
Matthew 5:14-15 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
Philippians 2: 14-16 Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.