What If?

What if God takes away the rain because we do not thank him for the flowers?
What if God takes away his gifts because I do not open them?
What if God takes away his Word because I do not believe and trust what he says?
What if God answers my prayers in a way I did not expect?
What if God had granted Jesus’ prayer when he asked to let the cup pass him by?
What if God allows me to feel utterly desolate?

What if the pain of broken relationships leaves me in utter dismay?
What if accusations and curses come from unexpected places?
What if losses are more than gains?
What if disappointments drain the life out of you and nightmares come true?

Vaneetha Rendall Rishner wrote the following in her blog:

Even if.
These two simple words have taken the fear out of life. Replacing “what if” with “even if” is one of the most liberating exchanges we can ever make. We trade our irrational fears of an uncertain future for the loving assurance of an unchanging God. We see that even if the worst happens, God will carry us. He will still be good. And he will never leave us.

Habakkuk models this exchange beautifully. Though he had pleaded with God to save his people, he closes this book with this exquisite “even if…”

Even though the fig trees have no fruit
and no grapes grow on the vines,
even though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no corn,
even though the sheep all die
and the cattle stalls are empty,
I will still be joyful and glad,
because the Lord God is my savior.
The Sovereign Lord gives me strength.
He makes me sure-footed as a deer,
and keeps me safe on the mountains.

Hab 3:17-19 (GNB)

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The Last Supper

This journey started three years ago when my art teacher in South Africa, Brindley Pritchard (visit his site here), painted his version of the Last Supper. He felt that he wanted to donate it to the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, Texas. Circumstances did not allow him to do so at the time, and the painting has “waited” patiently until now.

As it turns out, I am the one who is privileged enough to deliver it by hand on Brindley’s behalf. I boarded three airplanes with the canvas rolled up securely in a box, safely hidden away.

Being familiar with the painting and with Jesus’ expression in the painting as he talks with his disciples, I can only imagine what it was like during those final hours before He was betrayed. His friends and followers must have been extremely distressed when He told them he would soon suffer and die. More so when He predicted that they would all desert Him. And Jesus? He already knew His fate and asked three of them to go with Him to Gethsemane to watch and pray. He was exceedingly sorrowful and troubled. Yet, in spite of his obvious distress, they fell asleep several times and could not keep watch with Him.

Then the final hour came…

What is my response to what He is still saying to me today? Do I at times roll Him up, pack Him away and securely carry Him under my arm?

May He graciously help me so that no rooster may be heard crowing.