Glancing at news reports of air raid sirens blasting in Israel raised goosebumps on my arms while I waited for my flight to leave Jacksonville Nov. 15. Just last year I visited nearby Iraq and Jordan to cover news of a church/education partnership, and in 2010 spent more than a week in Israel as a guest of the Israel ministry of tourism.
The sounds, the sights, the rubble and ruin of war is heartbreaking. The waste of war is breathtaking and beyond sad. And yet, as the writer of Ecclesiastes 3 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven,” including “a time for war and a time for peace.”
The next morning, I struggled for peace in my own heart when visiting with a friend several states away who has advanced breast cancer. It seems at each step of her diagnosis we have prayed and hoped for the best, and yet doctors have returned with nearly the worst possible health scenario. First the lump, then the lymph nodes, then additional spots.
On a bit of borrowed time before she had several more tests and I had to rush off for a meeting, my friend and I chatted about everything and nothing. Finally, since she is a gifted artist and wants to keep busy in the next several months, we made plans for a commissioned painting of my grandchildren. I thought later about the painting and it made me smile.
You see the painting I have had in mind for a year was one I created in Photoshop layering a shot of my grandchildren dressed in Narnia’s King Peter and Queen Lucy costumes, a panorama of the Dead Sea, and a regal lion from the zoo depicting C. S. Lewis’ Aslan of the Narnia Chronicles.
I have just the place for the painting in my sitting room above an antique secretary that was my mothers. It was intended to focus on my grandchildren’s love of Aslan and all things Narnia and my love of them.
But when I showed my friend the other shots I took the day I gave them their costumes and let them run in the woods—she was delighted. And she began to sketch. This would look so much better, she suggested, showing me poses of my young grandchildren in motion.
Indeed, the master artist had come to life. Aslan would be in the painting, but would not dominate. Instead, the children’s lively movements and carefree expressions will pop from the canvas, demonstrating spontaneity rather than a carefully orchestrated pose.
I am so thankful that Cyndi took what I thought would look best, and because I was willing, changed it into something that will be much, much better.
How often are we willing to give our plans to the Master and trust Him. Really trust Him?
Months from now, when I’m staring at that wonderful painting, I’ll be thinking of the promise of God of Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
There is a time for everything. But in season and out of season, I am thankful for a God I can trust with the master plan.
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