Finding Relevance In Good Friday And Easter
(Let me preface this blog by saying that I am doped up on pain meds from surgery, so if anything doesn’t make sense, blame the drugs. :))
Being Good Friday I thought I’d use my painting Redemption as an illustration. The words written on this painting were written by nine different people who have powerful stories of Jesus bringing freedom to their lives through His death. As I sat at the table this morning eating my breakfast with one of the worst headaches I’ve ever had I thought about the word “pain” written on my painting. I wrestled with what Jesus’ death meant for me in that moment of such intense pain. Surely it didn’t immunize me from pain, so what is the benefit of Jesus’ shed blood for our current battles?
Though we will still experience pain in this life, our faith in Jesus enables us to walk through those difficult seasons…not stay there. Redemption means God not only brings us victory over sin and circumstances that bind us, but He brings us victory while we are still IN our circumstances as His presence empowers and leads us.
I was inspired to do this painting while working on a Beth Moore Bible study where she spoke about how “the Lamb’s power and authority to redeem on earth came through His willingness to be slain.” In a similar way, our power to overcome comes through our willingness to surrender. Of all my paintings, Redemption is one of my most favorites, yet the process of creating it was by far the most intense.
While I began so inspired and excited, it wasn’t long at all before my passion turned to discouragement and dread. The glory proved to be too challenging for me to paint and unfortunately, because watercolor is a transparent medium, you cannot cover mistakes. Desperate to make it work I reached for other mediums such as gauche and acrylics which are more opaque to try and complete the glory. With each new attempt, hope kept turning into despair day after day, week after week, month after month. Though I kept speaking “excellence” over the painting, I wondered how I’d ever fulfill the vision God had given me before I completely ruined it. I knew very well that the painting was falling short of what it could be, yet I was not willing to close the door on it as I am strong willed and I knew the hours I had already invested into it.
So, I kept pressing on in this downward state determined to make it work until late one afternoon when I spilled dark brown paint across the Lamb’s pristine white head. Immediately the painting was ruined as there was no way to get that white paper back. Through many tears I said, “I don’t understand this journey”. Why did God allow all those months of wrestling, discouragement and effort only to end in defeat? Why didn’t He redeem it?
Looking back, I was not willing to let go, so God had to take it away from me in order to accomplish His best and bring about the “excellence” I was praying for. With renewed grace and excitement over a new beginning, only two days after the spill I began to redraw the piece on a fresh piece of paper. The glory which took me over 5 months on the first painting took only 5 days to complete with the second. Minus the blood, that second attempt flowed from beginning to end.
While God didn’t redeem my painting the way I thought or wanted, He did redeem it – and far more excellent than I could have imagined because He gave me a new beginning; a clean slate. Through this piece God allowed me to experience His redemption first hand. I learned the importance of letting go of compromise and ‘my way’ and taking hold of the excellence and freedom that Jesus died to give me. It’s in the surrendering of our lives to Jesus that we find the life we truly long for. Redemption is available to us all. Easter is our promise of that!
“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11
*Click here to read more about the painting Redemption.