When you don’t know the ending

I’m no artist. I thought that was what I wanted to be when I grew up, but then I realized I wasn’t entirely good at it. Still, I appreciate art, and I just like to sit in awe of it.

Naturally, I wanted to hit up some of the art museums here in London. The first (and last) museum I stumbled into was the Victoria and Albert Museum. Yeahh, I spent about four hours in there … and I only got through about one-fourth of the museum!

But there was one room I made sure to spend some time in: an entire room solely devoted to Raphael. Again, not a huge art buff, but he’s sort of a big deal in the world of art.

My jaw dropped as I entered the enormous, dimly-lit room decorated with seven of his paintings, which were turned into tapestries for the Sistine Chapel. They were more than 20 feet wide and tall. The pictures themselves amazed me, but then I started to think about the process behind making them.

These massive paintings had to be painted bit by bit. Raphael had to focus on one square foot at a time. He couldn’t worry about someone’s foot while he was working on their face.

As I stared at these magnificent paintings, I couldn’t help but think how our lives are like them – a beautiful collage of hundreds of smaller pieces that each need tending to and perfecting.

I’m at a crucial point in my life. I’m at the spot where I am supposed to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life. People expect me to give them my five year plan, and every time I answer them with the same shrug and smile.

I don’t know where I will be in five years, and I’m not even sure I know where I want to be.

As I sat there staring at Raphael’s paintings, God gently reminded me of something I so often forget: he’s the painter. He paints our lives like Raphael painted his pictures: one piece at a time.

My problem is that I’m usually too focused on the top of the painting when God is just trying to finish the bottom. I want to work on and worry about another piece rather than the one that’s before me. Not only that, but other people expect me to know what the rest of my picture will look like, and the reality is I am just as curious as they are.

Part of having a relationship with God is learning to trust him, though. I have to trust that he knows what the picture will look like in the end – that he has the most stunning painting sketched out in his mind.

God takes us piece by piece. Chances are you know what piece you should be working on right now. Maybe you’re just choosing to worry about another, though. God has shown me the next piece, and I’ve finally decided to listen and stop worrying about how the rest of the picture will come together.

I don’t need to worry about what I’ll be doing five years from now because I’m not ready for that yet. I haven’t gotten there, and that’s OK.

A masterpiece isn’t finished in one day so why should something as magnificent as your life be figured out in one day?

Take comfort in knowing that even when you don’t know how the rest of the picture will turn out, God does. Just focus on the piece in front of you.

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