Saturday, August 15, 2009

Designed by the DIVINE DESIGNER

It is written, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." (I Cor 2:19, NLT)

The Labor of Love, the mural on Midway Baptist Church's cafeteria wall (the Wall), was "designed" by GOD. In hindsight, too many "GOD-stops" happened (as Beth Moore would classify these unexpected blessings or "GOD's little miracles") towards the making of this project as to make them mere coincidences.

The assistant pastor asked me to do the Wall project last year, but i was already set on traveling back to Fiji within two to three weeks time. i was too busy and the wall was too big a job...i had no prior experience to painting what seemed to me a humongous amount of empty space. Door-size was my limit at that time.
In Fiji, GOD opened up opportunities to practice "big painting." i painted a room-size wall (14' x 10') in Vidawa, a tiny village in Taveuni. Also two smaller walls in Matei for an American couple. So with these under my belt, i felt confident when the pastor asked me this year to do the Wall.
During the first three weeks in July, ministries from out of town came to the church. They used the church property as their home-base as they went about planting churches or interacting with the homeless or evangelizing to Spanish speakers. They all used the cafeteria for meal preparations and through all this, they saw me painting. We fellowshiped, we shared personal information...and they fed me. They nourished me with their food and their friendliness. i was blessed indeed!

It was very hot during the weeks that i painted (July to early August). But the building was built in such a way that i was provided shade by the second-story overhanging floor. Coincidence or GOD's gracious providence?

The scenery included clouds, rough seas and big waves, boy and girl surfers, palm trees and flowering plants. The Wall was rough stucco, with bumps and nooks and crannies.
After i painted the sky two shades of blue, i painted in the clouds, highlighting the cloud formations created by whoever plastered on the stucco. Another coincidence? i don't think so...
The waves were already there too. After i painted the tropical sea colors, i just had to find the wave patterns on the stucco and highlight them with "cotton fluff" white. The end-result looked like breaking waves.

When i was painting the girl-surfer's face, i couldn't quite get it right. Imagine trying to paint a smooth-skinned, rosy-cheeked, suntanned young girl on stucco. i prayed, "oh GOD, help me please! i need you again!" Again, because i have been praying, talking to Him all along as i painted, thanking Him for the job, for the church's day camp kids chit-chatting with me, for the out-of-town teens and their youth pastors' fellowship, for the food they shared with me. And for GOD helping me with the painting...He gave me the ideas on how to paint the clouds and the waves, what colors to use, how to blend this or that shade...He gave me the skill to do the vision He had put in my mind.

GOD gave me everything i needed to do the Wall. Food. Shelter. Company. And the talent to accomplish what He had already designed for me to do even before it had even entered my mind.

Was it coincidence that the girl's nose and mouth were outlined in the stucco?
Or the boy's ears just perfectly situated on the stucco too? Or the two perfectly heart-shaped bumps? (i have a special joy whenever i see heart shapes--in blobs of paint, in clouds, on people's clothing or accessories--anywhere and everywhere, i see them. Without the abiding SPIRIT, would i even notice these hearts? To me, silly ol' me, it's GOD, it's JESUS, letting me know He's around, that He loves me. When i notice hearts, i just smile and say aloud or in my heart, "i love You, too!"

GOD knew i was going to do this project. He knew i wanted to glorify Him and His Word with this work. And He blessed me in many ways, more than i've listed above.

He taught me that the Wall was secondary to the bigger blessing--the blessing of getting to know more believers, of making real connection with the folks at church who maintained the facilities, of talking with the school kids who paraded past the Wall every day, of holding real conversations with the few who took the time to examine the Wall's progress, of witnessing to those who had not yet seen the Light of JESUS.
The Wall was GOD's instrument to expanding and deepening my relationships with my church family. The faces that i saw only on Sunday and Wednesday services became real people to me. The Wall was the conversation piece that started the ball rolling. i was given much encouragement and complimentary remarks, but i have to reply with, "it really is all about GOD. He was the true Designer behind the Wall. i just followed through...He led all the way!"

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