On rare occasions, it seems to me, God will allow someone who doesn’t yet know you, to see you for who you truly are in God. To really see you in your own BECOMING. And when this happens, it is God alone who gets the glory, because it isn’t something “known” to them. Although, it is God who has given the “vision,” I do believe a “thank you” to that person, who served as a divine and timely vessel, is quite appropriate. Why? Because of what it takes to be such a vessel, ready to be used by God for any good work. You see, it takes a whole lot of soul work in the in-between times of life in order to stay ready: the work of planting seeds given by God, watering with the Word, tending in forgiveness, pruning in confession, basking in the light of the Son, and patiently waiting on God in order to see one’s own life and others clearly through the lens of heaven. “A large house contains not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay. Some indeed are for honorable use, but others are for common use. So, if anyone cleanses himself of what is unfit, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, and prepared for every good work.” 2 Tim. 2:20-21
He didn’t know the long standing lies I’d believed: that I wasn’t creative, or had anything important to write or teach, especially anything that hadn’t already been said or written. He didn’t know me. He didn’t know the wrestling going on within me. But still, he spoke the vision God had given to him of me. What he spoke lined up perfectly with what the Spirit had been trying to get through to me for quite some time. But he couldn’t have known this. He didn’t know me at all.
How could he have spoken this then? By having spent time with the One who speaks to souls, that’s how. This man was simply courageous enough in God, and available enough to God, to take the time to share the whispers he perceived from God of another soul, praying to God. I came to learn that this interesting man, who was thirty years my senior, had served as the president of Wycliffe Bible Translators, where he had worked for more than three decades; had been the creative director for Surfer Magazine for nearly a decade before that; and had served God’s people all over the globe most of his adult life. He was a true artist, a painter, a draftsman, a writer, a theologian, a poet; and he had the eyes to see me through the lens of God. Yes, he knew the Savior intimately, and the Lord sent him to encourage my soul at just the right time.
After he spoke to me, he said that this would likely be the most we would ever speak in person. I hoped not. But before escaping my company, I went out on a limb and asked him if he would read the chapter I just wrote called “IMAGINE,” for the book I had been secretly writing. He agreed. We soon parted ways in order to return to our respective coasts of the US. A few weeks later, he sent my printed IMAGINE chapter back to me in the mail, complete with his notes and comments written in pencil in nearly every margin of every page. I had a sense that his notes were far more important than any words I had put on the typed page myself. Every word was edifying, gracious, and magnanimous; all giving me courage. Courage I had really needed. He could never have known.
Not many days later, he sent me a picture of his most recent painting, entitled, “The Shell Seeker.” It was absolutely beautiful! His talent astounded. I was so happy he was sharing his work with me.
The shocker came when he told me the painting had been inspired by my writing. As one who has believed so many lies, it was hard for me to believe that something I would write would inspire such beauty.
He soon followed up with an invitation to his upcoming art exhibit, with the “Shell Seeker” painting gracing the invitation’s cover. I found a link to his blog and decided to read about the upcoming exhibit. All his works were so extraordinary that I chose to comment about them on his blog. He wrote back calling me the Shell Seeker – ME? Shocker number two: the painting was about me. His follow up poem to me made this truth abundantly clear.
It was only through the painted image, made exclusively with pallet knife, and those poetic words, that I was finally able to receive the loving truth that God had been trying to show me all along. I was truly seen by the Maker of heaven and earth. God had his eye upon me during all those walks upon the beach as I cried out to Him. My very first walk upon that beach was the morning after my miscarriage; another was the sullen walk after being diagnosed with a brain tumor; and even more following a number of unforeseen disappointments that had come along the way. But it was there on that beach where I could still praise my Lord in song because His presence in that place was undeniable!! His beauty tangible; His love palpable. It was there that I learned of the purple dye hidden in the murex shell used by the temple priests and kings. It was there that I became captivated by the mini-wonders of God’s hand lying upon the sand, ever speaking of Yahweh’s divine attributes and calling me deeper into Him.
Hyatt Moore, you are very well named – Lofty Gate! Thank you! Your ability to image the love of God with paint and pen has blessed me beyond measure.
I wrote to Hyatt and told him just after his art show in California that I had prayed the “Shell Seeker” painting would end up in a good home. He assured me that it did in fact get a very good home.
Shocker number three: My parents presented the Shell Seeker original painting to me for Christmas. Let’s just say stunned is an understatement. How could someone like me receive such a beautiful work, especially one which meant so much to my personal healing?
I used to visit the Rembrandt room at the Hermitage Museum in Russia almost daily, as I would walk home from University down Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg back in1992. The painting which affected me most in that gallery and that would always make me cry was entitled, “Descent from the Cross.” It depicted Jesus being taken down from the cross, by candlelight, after his crucifixion, by his friends. Such a moment, I had never imagined before; yet captured beautifully by Rembrandt. Years later, I realized why this work meant so much to me. My soul had long desired to be brought down from the cross by my friends. Death is not for death’s sake. Death is for the sake of resurrection. After every death to the flesh, a rising in the Spirit is intended by God.
Ironically, the piece over which Hyatt painted the Shell Seeker, was the face of a downtrodden woman in need of joy that he had painted years earlier. It seems that just as I needed to undergo a process for repurposing, so did that very canvas chosen for the Shell Seeker.
Hyatt, I’m grateful for the work of your human, creative hand that gave image to God’s repurposing of me with His own mighty, loving hand.
Thank you, Hyatt, for speaking the words of resurrection to my soul, painting the image of its renewal, and penning the poem regarding a repurposing to which I have been called. It is my desire to be for others, whom I may not even know, that which you have been for me.
Sacred art, I believe, is giving image to beauty, truth, and light. The essence of prophesy, I believe, is to give words to that which God sees, what a soul is intended to be BECOMING in Him. All of our lives are intended to be as such, BECOMING increasingly and beautifully repurposed by faith in Him.