The Painter: Hidden Treasures in the Dark
Blue eyes. Really beautiful blue eyes. He had dark hair and a somber expression. I think he was just really shy. He kept to himself and spoke softly. I don’t think he frequented the hospital. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t a regular. He didn’t share what brought him there and I didn’t ask.
I’m really not a fan of painting. I don’t like to sit still for long. But I was painting to pass the time. They call it therapy. The blue eyed man was sitting across from me. I looked up from my paper and glanced at his.
“Um, you are really good at painting,” I mentioned. He paused for a second and stared at his paper. “Do you paint as a hobby?” I inquired.
“I’ve never tried before. This is my first painting.” He smiled. With some dollar paints, he made that piece of paper come to life. It was a vibrant landscape.
I made sure to tell him that he was very talented. I told him that my mom is an artist, so I knew what I was talking about. He knew how to do shading and the dimensions looked perfect. It really was a beautiful piece.
He smiled again and then went back to touching up the skyline.
I ran into him a couple of weeks later on the way to therapy. My mom was with me. I said, “Hi.” I couldn’t remember his name. Not sure that I ever knew his name. So when I introduced him to my mom -- I said, “This is the man that I told you about. The one who can paint.”
He mumbled, “thank you” and just smiled. He was obviously very shy. He worked at a local ship builder. I encouraged him to take an art class and then we said goodbye.
That was the end of our story. I’ve thought about him from time to time. I see his blue eyes. I picture his smile as he paints.
And I think to myself, isn’t that like our magnificent God to take a pit in our life and replace it with a fruit?
This man’s life was slowed down enough to discover a hidden talent. During a low point in his life, he was given a gift.
God tends to work that way. As the tourist guide through our trips through Hell, he makes sure we find our way back home. And then He leaves us with a souvenir or two. Usually in the form of a gift, new talent, or restoration.
Darkness changes us in many ways – some good, some bad. We usually emerge more humble. Our hearts tend to have more depth and compassion. We have a fresh perspective in the light. We become more grateful, counting the blessings.
We often gain an intimate relationship with God.
We usually have some scars. But those scars heal overtime – some fast, some slow. Those scars tend to build our character. They remind us how weak we were. They remind us of how strong He is. They tell the story of our giants.
If you are fortunate, hardships can break you enough to complete surrender. And with that kind of trust comes freedom.
And for many, a purpose is born:
Women overcoming sexual assault and turning their life mission into saving others from Trafficking.
Grieving parents becoming advocates for research and raising mass amounts of money.
Veterans helping other veterans get back on their feet.
A dear friend turning the grief from loss into the gift of adopting a child.
Addicts getting clean and helping others get clean.
Patients overcoming devastating illnesses and becoming doctors and nurses.
And on and on…
For me, I received many gifts. I tend to unpack even more souvenirs as time passes.
But the greatest gift is freedom. He broke my stubborn soul. And I surrendered.
Then He told me.
You have a story to tell. Now write.
Being broke sounds awful and to be honest with you, it is pretty awful. Until you make it to the other side. Then you unearth the treasures of the darkness.
Endure to the end my friend. The reward is far more than we could ever imagine. (Matthew 5:12)
And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness— secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. (Isaiah 45:3, NLT)