After 15 years of studying scripture with one denomination, then continuing my study with Christ as my teacher, He broadened my horizontal view of Him. Not only did he broaden the horizontal view, but also the vertical view. With a naked eye we can only see a certain amount of distance and depth and this varies for each person. A telescope or set of binoculars could help give us greater distance vision, but even that is limited. Since seeing Christ is not physical, we can only see Him spiritually in the Spirit...and 'some' physical manifestations of Him in this physical realm of life through others, but that is limited as well. Understanding who he is, is not based on our physical understanding with tangible minds and thought processes.
God is so unsearchable...meaning there is such great depth to who he is and such unmeasureable love within Him, that we cannot measure Him at all. We cannot measure Him by inches, feet, yards or miles. We cannot measure him in decibels, kilowatts, or megabytes. We cannot search Him out with a telescope, magnifying glass, or binoculars. He goes beyond all of that. How he relates to each of us is unique and thus each of our experiences with Him are also unique.
We traveled to another city today and our GPS took us by the easiest, most direct way..but on our trip back home it took us a completely different way. We had some extra time so we decided to follow the GPS by faith to see where we were headed.. it turned out to be a short cut and a beautiful one at that. Something really cool about a GPS is the ability to update the software by hooking up to the internet. The GPS updates itself based on current road blocks, detours, and construction projects. It reroutes you to avoid traffic and shows you right where every Starbuck's coffee shop is along the route. What a unique map! Nothing like the road maps from a decade ago..you know..when you had to stop for help and the local gas station attendant didn't even know how to help you. God is not like the road maps of a decade ago. He is like a super high efficient GPS..only better.
He knows every future bump in the road for the future of your life. He knows how to color the map to let you know what is land, water, or road. He knows how long it will take to get you where he wants you and which stops He hopes you will take along the way. We use different keys on a map to show the way and He has keys to show us His way as well. No one can create the road map for your life, only God can do so...but I believe He creates as as you go. Isn't that how maps were created to begin with? He is the ultimate of map makers and greatest artist of all time.
He is painting a gorgeous painting of your life and only He knows what the final picture will look like. Only He knows what color to use now and what color to use tomorrow. He knows where to paint in the shadows and beams of light and knows when. And every single shadow, light, texture, color, and placement of them all is absolutely perfect in His eyes and even if you try to use your own hand in adding something or removing something from the painting, He allows what he allows..you know why? Because He is not wanting a robotic portrait, he is allowing us to paint part of our lives so we can paint together. He isn't a sadistic control freak motivated by paranoia and narcissistic tendencies to paint by number some kind of cracker jack picture. He is creating a masterpiece in you. And no two master pieces in His gallery are the same, they are all unique.
When we walk through an artist's gallery, such as Kincade, we see his famous paintings of light. Some of his paintings are actual places that I grew up in. I look at them today and think "Wait a minute...it didn't look like that when I lived there." But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, sun shines differently each day depending on the time of day and season, as well as if there are clouds in the sky or not and I did not paint the picture, Kincade did. Who am I to call him up and tell him he used the wrong color or placed the glowing light in a different place, or even what shade of green I thought the leaves of the tree should be?
It is not for me to tell God how to paint the portrait of the life of David, Elizabeth, Claudia, Chip, Michelle, Marsha, or Dawnelle. It is not for me to question why He painted the lives of Ellen White, Martin Luther, Jack Hyles, St. Augustine, or Billy Graham the way He did. It is between them and Him. Each of our lives is a canvas to be painted. As we see the paintings of each of our lives we can stand in awe and absolute amazement as we admire what He and each individual is doing each and every day on your canvasses. Sometimes we won't be able to see what He is creating with your life, because we don't know what the next stroke will be. Life happens on a daily and nightly basis, and even while we are dreaming.
We can admire each other's lives and see a color we enjoy and ask God for that color on our canvas and He may nor may not add that. So we might decide to add it ourselves and later find out it doesn't work very well with what he is doing so we step back and let Him paint for a while, allowing Him to add the color He thinks is best and we see the two colors form into a beautiful hue that we may not have ever known existed. C'est magnifique! mmwa!
We can study art, color, brush stroke techniques, and various ways to mix colors, but until the knowledge becomes life all we have is book knowledge. Don't get me wrong, book knowledge is still knowledge, but adding life to knowledge is adding depth! Maybe one friend has an art book that has different techniques than yours does and perhaps another loved one has an art book with assorted colors that yours doesn't have... learn from one another and see if you can find the heart of the artist in them. There are numerous points of study for an artist from colored pencils, markers, water paints, to oil based paints.
We can study with books from Kincade, Michaelangelo, or Davinci, but the greatest inspiration we could possibly get is from our Father as He guides our lives with His Spirit. Each artist has gorgeous aspects of their work and we may favor one over another for different reasons...but every manifestation of art is because the Creator created us in Christ and His creativity comes forth in our lives.
I am fully fascinated with the study of scripture and world historical events that gives us a fuller picture of what happened in this earthly time and space, but only God can reveal the greater depths of who He is in our lives. I want to admire what he is doing in each of our lives. Not to compare each one as if one is better than another. But to appreciate each one as God is creating it and learn from the lives of those and ask what has taken place in their lives to bring about such things in their hearts. While a painting is pleasant to look at on the outside, I want to look beyond what is on the canvas and understand where the Artist was coming from when He painted it. I want to know what inspired Him and learn to love what I see on your canvasses. I want to see your painting the way He sees it, as the masterpiece He is creating it to be.
Our Master Creator is much too large, great, and deep to kept locked inside a tiny artist's paint box. He doesn't color by numbers. He creates one of a kind masterpieces out of all of us.
My peace with theology is this..... none of us will ever grasp all of who He is in this life time..so I choose to look for His glorious beauty in everything and everyone.. keeping love as my primary focus in all my studying. If the 'doctrine' leads me to love Him and love others, I'll keep on that journey. And if another person's doctrine leads me to anxiety, bitterness, judgmentalism, etc..I'll just wait and see what God does with that in others before I decide to study it in depth.
Sisterlisa is a homeschooling mom of four children and married to an evangelist who travels to bring the gospel to those in need of our Savior. She is the owner of Growing in Grace Magazine and AGMinistries.