Some people don’t like surprises. I love surprises. I mean I love good surprises.
But sometimes things surprise me that should not. After following Jesus and living my life as a devoted believer, I am still so often surprised when I see that God has chosen to move in response to my petitions of Him. By this stage of the game, I should not be so caught off guard. I should not be so surprised when He is moved to work in my life and the lives of those I love in response to prayers from his favorite daughter. (It’s okay; you are his favorite, too!)
There has been a statement floating around in my brain for a little while now. A dear friend and mentor shared it with me a while back, and I keep coming back to it. It is something that John Wesley said a long time ago. My version of it is this… “What if God does nothing in the affairs of people, except in response to our prayers?” My friend asks the follow up question… What are we leaving on the table?
I pray often for the people I love and for the people I am blessed to mentor and shepherd. But if I really consider the question John Wesley raised, I do not pray nearly enough.
Last fall, my favorite daughter started her senior year as a visual art student in a local school of the arts. I prayed so much that the Lord would infuse her work, and that He would lend His creativity to the things that she created. I wanted people to see His handiwork in her art. I prayed for it to be her desire that people gain a bit of understanding of the One she loves through her art. (She is my favorite daughter for many reasons, the least of which is she is my only daughter.) 🙂
The school year has flown by, and last week, my daughter had her senior art show at her art school. There were four artists showing the culmination of their art instruction. It was a big deal for them. My daughter began her journey at the art school as a talented artist who mostly painted or drew pictures of the beautiful things in creation, pretty pictures that showcased her abilities, but had little meaning beyond that.
As I stood in the gallery at the art school and looked at her display, I realized that a transformation had taken place. Of the four talented artists being showcased, Laura had by far, been given the largest space.
It appeared to be a random hodgepodge of drawings and fabric and words grouped into vignettes, loosely tied together with string that led your eye to the next vignette all across and over the largest wall in the gallery. There were both drawings of the expanse of space and the minute detail of human hands. Planets and stars alongside the delicate creation of the human figure. It was all very compelling and it was the largest, by far, of the displays.
As I stood there watching the people who came to the reception viewing my daughter’s work, I knew that God had answered my prayers in a big way. Her work stood in stark contrast to the other artist’s. The other artist’s work showcased their talents beautifully as well, but only Laura’s spoke of her deep understanding and appreciation of the God who created the universe, and yet still cares about the smallest detail of the human experience. In that moment, I was surprised again, that God had answered my prayer so completely, and in a way I had not expected.
What if God does nothing in the affairs of people, except in response to our prayers? What concerns are we leaving on the table, questions unanswered, needs unmet because we won’t take the time to go the Father in prayer?
“In my work, I have made a conscious decision to make art that causes me to have a desire to continue to create. This recent work is about the way that I believe the world was created from the words of a creator and the delicacy of all of that alongside my belief in a God who hand-molded humans into existence.
I touch on the connections between us and nature, and how that can affect how we react and how we live. I focus on certain aspects of the natural world and how these things can be overwhelming and empowering, yet they were only spoken into existence. And as humans, we discredit the beauty of our own lives and our own mountains and universes. I like to use a balance of distortion and moments in time in my pieces that is calming to look at and think about.
I have tried to create art that causes a reaction that provokes the viewer to think. I make art that reflects my interpretation of the universe and the creation of it. My work is an extension of my beliefs and views of this world. I display my desires and thoughts very delicately, like scattered puzzle pieces or an image that can only be seen if you connect all of the dots.”