|Reflections by the artist
from Nelson Mandela struck a cord with me.
In this painting I try to express
something of this journey to discover who
we are in the presence of the Almighty
God. Fear is a big part of that journey.
Mandela’s words point out that the fear is
not merely of what’s "out there," but more
significantly, what’s "in here" - in my
own understanding of myself.
free us from fear? Over and over again
in the Bible we read the words "do not
fear." That’s easier said than done.
What’s the source of true courage? And
what about Paul’s statement in his
letter to the Philippians that he has
learned the secret of being content in
all circumstances? Paul writes these
words in very difficult circumstances –
he’s in prison, his ministry is being
attacked, his friends have abandoned him
– yet he writes that what has happened
to him has really served to advance the
Gospel. He knows peace and contentment.
He knows that even in such circumstances
the glory of God is being manifest
through him. How can he stand so
confidently in the face of such
overwhelming ‘bad luck’?
painting is a metaphor for our
relationship with the awesome God. The
fear of God is the beginning of wisdom
(Proverbs 1:7). In this fear we find
true humility: Who am I to stand before
the Lord of all creation? Indeed I stand
in true fear as I contemplate God as
Creator. I am nothing – or so it seems.
Yet as I stand before his awesome
presence I notice that I belong there, I
am accepted, I am loved. I also am aware
that I am not alone. I stand on the rock
that is Jesus. I stand filled with the
Holy Spirit, in profound union with this
God that so overwhelms me. The fearful
waves and breakers represent all that
God is and has made. These waves and
breakers are terrifying, yet I am not
terrified. They are actually incredibly
beautiful. In the presence of the
awesome God I receive strength, I
discover who I really am and could be,
and in that I discover the peace that
transcends all understanding. I welcome
his Presence to crash over me, fill me,
and empower me with his love and grace.
inspiration for the painting came in
part out of my own very practical
experience of being overwhelmed by both
opportunities and challenges. There’s
just too much going on, too many things
I’d love to be doing, too many demands
on my time, too many challenges that I
just can’t address on my own. So this
painting is also a prayer.
of Psalm 42:5,7 capture the essence of
you downcast, O my soul?
May we stand
each day in the awareness of God’s glory
in us seeking expression. We are
children of God, and our playing small
does not serve the world nor honor our
Creator. Let his glory shine.
disturbed within me?
hope in God,
For I will
yet praise him,
Saviour and my God.
calls to deep
roar of your waterfalls
waves and breakers
swept over me