Pick-Me-Up: Torn Canvas

©Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight” ~Proverbs 3:5-6

After hours of work and frustration one evening, I finally went to bed. I had worked into the wee hours, wrestling with a painting composition.

Something wasn’t right. The painting didn’t fit with the other paintings that I had set aside for an upcoming show. It stood there, a problem in an otherwise unified body of work.

Of course, time had not been on my side. And as is usually the case when I hurry to canvas with minimal preparation, I quickly paint myself into a corner.

In the morning, I pulled out a few of the paintings that I had already framed for the exhibit. I leaned them against the easel beneath my latest work, and stepped back to consider the whole effect.

When I hurry to canvas with minimal preparation, I quickly paint myself into a corner.

I decided to get a cup of English Breakfast tea to drive the fog away from my weary head. As I waited for the water to boil, I heard a loud crash.

What I found constituted an artistic disaster. My painting had tumbled and hit one of the framed paintings leaning against my drafting table. And yes, my canvas had torn in not one but two places.

I groaned.

I couldn’t in good conscience sell a damaged canvas. Time to accept my defeat, to retreat and begin anew.

I decided to approach the process differently. I’d certainly learned my lesson.

In my hurry to complete my tasks, I had overlooked the all- important step of asking God to guide me.

Of course, I’m not the only one who rushes into things when time pressures crowd me.

I’d certainly learned my lesson.

Even Biblical saints sometimes found themselves in similar straits. I’m reminded of Joshua and the Ai fiasco.

The account isn’t as well-known as that of Jericho although the victory at Jericho immediately precedes the Ai disaster.

Eager to capitalize on their recent victory, Josh and the people hurried to capture Ai. I find no record of prayer in the passage. Confident that God had promised the land, Josh simply approved the attack.

The effort ended in disaster.

Josh must have felt devastated. Yet, his response teaches me a lot about how to handle myself when my life work crumbles. Josh humbled himself before God, (Joshua 7:6). And then, he poured his heart out.

When Josh turned to Israel’s Sovereign Shepherd, the problem in the camp became clear. Thus, disaster at Ai served as a wake-up call for Josh.

My torn canvas did the same for me.

Joshua’s response teaches me a lot about how to handle myself when my life work crumbles.

And yes, both accounts end happily. Indeed, under God’s care and direction, you and I uncover the problem in the ‘camp’ and start anew (I John 1:9).

Abba loves us so deeply that He will not allow us to wander alone for long.

Undoubtedly, grace sometimes requires our facing life’s torn canvases.

But in doing so, our overconfidence melts away and we turn to our Sovereign-Shepherd for His direction once more.

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