It is an old saying that I have clung to for decades. I remember the day that I first picked it up, held it in my heart and decided never to let it escape my grasp. Clueless was I to the depth of its meaning.
Have you ever been to an art museum and sat before a giant wall covered with only one painting? I love to go and muse at the strokes of the artist.
Sitting before an enormous crucifixion scene, some so real that you feel you are part of the witnesses. Sitting before such darkness, sometimes that is all you behold, the darkness of it. Death. I often get caught up in the sorrow, suffering and sadness of the scene. Beauty is before me, but I can be unaware of it.
Life can be brutal. There is pain that wrenches heart in two.
Beauty is not always apparent when the soles of your feet are on the path of struggle. Keep walking. You often cannot see it until you glance back, retrospect. We often wonder how we missed it.
Often there will be glimpses of it on the path of trial, but the full glory is delayed. It will come. Understanding will come. You will realize what the Lord had in mind. Someday.
When gazing upon an artist's masterpiece, flaws are invisible. They are before us, covered by another stroke of hand. I studied art for a small season of time, and it has occurred to me that every work of genius I've ever seen in my life has had unrevealed blunders hidden beneath perfection. Covered, hidden, unrevealed. They were obvious, there in plain sight when the master was working. Well hidden before presentation and judgement.
The beauty of the crucifixion is love and grace. It depicts a God who cares so much that He gave His best so that we might be covered when judgement comes. Flawless before Him. Oh, the flaws are there, but who will see? No one, for they are beautifully hidden. Glory!
My friend, beautiful things are seldom easy. Are you walking through a hard time? I understand, I've had a few. Hang on, keep walking. Someday you will look behind and see reflections of rainbows that somehow you missed along the long path.
How do you view a painting of the crucifixion? Close your eyes and think on it now. Is it dark? Do you feel the suffering of that day? Do you share the agony of some of the witnesses, the ones who cared about Him? Do you know the faith of the thief who believed in Him that day?
The imprisoned one threatened with no release . . . with the sentence of death upon his head. Demise turned to promise. Hope! The one who would share paradise with Jesus that day. Forgiven. Right with God. Saved in a heartbeat, just in time. It could have been me, it could have been you in his place. For we have all been hopeless without Him. In reality, he, the thief, has a most desirable epitaph. "You will be with Me in paradise." The hope of the ages.