Darkness Helps Us See Light
For many years, painting and drawing been my way to escape the pressures of life. When I sit down at the table, pull out my watercolors and begin to work on a picture, it feels like time freezes. I can easily spend hours painting and feel like only minutes have passed. Because I paint and draw to relax, I’ve never been overly concerned about doing things the “right” way. In other words, I didn’t worry much about whether my work would pass the scrutiny of a genuine artist. That wasn’t my purpose.However, in recent years I’ve begun teaching art to home-schooled children. That, of course, required that I take an altogether different approach toward the subject. I wanted my students to learn what made good paintings and drawings stand out from the others. In order to more effectively teach my students, I began to study principles of composition, how to use color effectively, and how to use value and contrast. A month or so ago, I read an article in a watercolor magazine that struck me, not only from an artistic perspective, but also from a spiritual one. The writer said that if you want light to stand out in a painting, you need to have darkness.
One of the most difficult things to get a beginning art student to learn is that if there is no contrast in a painting—no difference between light and dark—it appears flat and uninteresting. However, if the artist has effectively included a range of contrast and color values, the elements in the painting stand out, often dramatically. In other words, you need the darkness to see the light.
The same thing is true in my relationship to Jesus Christ. I have walked down some dark pathways with the Lord over the years, including the death of my daughter at one week of age, my son’s deployment to the front lines in Iraq, and some difficult times in pastoral ministry. But as I look back at those difficult circumstances, it seems that when things were darkest, that’s when I saw Christ most clearly.
AUTHOR QUOTE: In the Christian life we will all face times of trouble. But it is in those times that His light shines brightest.
“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33b KJV.
Today’s devotion is by James H. Pence. James is an author, editor, singer, and performance chalk artist who uses his gifts to tell the stories of your heart. Visit his Web site at: www.jamespence.com.