|Painted by Rembrandt van Rijn, photographed by flikr user freeparking, Creative Commons, cc license|
"It's all right, Mom," she laughed. "I can do it again." Bending her head, she worked intently, her penciled hand flitting, shading, and bringing to life people on the page.
A verse from Romans has held my attention this week, tangling in with a line from a song. The verse is a familiar one, but the last two words have sketched in meaning for me in a way I've never seen before. The first section of the verse rings in recognizable cadence: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed..."
Suffering is a strong word that I won't lay claim to too quickly, but I insert "hard times, painful situations, hurts, losses, or struggles" into the verse for me and continue reading.
Those hard times are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed -- ah, yes, I'm familiar with this concept, I nodded. Growing up, I've been excited for heaven someday to see more of God's beauty and glory, looking forward to getting to know him more intimately, and seeing more clearly his plan and stories throughout creation's history. The glory of that over-arching plotline will be spectacular!
But the verse ended differently than I was used to seeing, and it halted me. Reading the last two words again and again, I saw "in us." The glory that will be revealed in us?
The song lyric that had caught my breath and tangled up into this verse unraveled: "There is healing in the pain." Healing doesn't need to wait until the pain is past. Healing happens in the hurt, during the pain.
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us," our Artist God inspired Paul to say about you and me. Yes, God's own glory and splendor can't be topped, but that he would say, "Your hard days and times, Jen, are not worth comparing to the beauty I am sculpting in you. There is healing in the pain. The beauty of me in you, of your spirit and will being shaped and molded into a work of art is worth it."
On the black leather couch downstairs, my daughter has already drafted another female form in grey lead. She was never worried with occasional erasures and re-writes because she had the final product in mind, and it was a work of art.
The woman on the page will be glorious art, to be revealed by the Artist in his time.
You are a work of art, my friend, and our Artist God gets all the credit. Pulling my Bible nearer and turning my heart and face to him, I'm trusting the process.