A cool night’s breeze entered the upstairs bedroom causing the floor length curtains to dance freely by the moonlight. The room was furnished far different from what one would expect a bedroom to look. There was no bed to be found, actually, no furniture of any kind, except for an easel and the stool Bryan sat on. The room’s décor consisted of numerous canvas paintings of different shapes and sizes that covered the walls in no particular pattern.
Six years ago, Bryan had converted this upstairs bedroom into a room his wife, Linda, could use to pursue her hobby. She absolutely loved to paint. She once told Bryan, “…painting allows me to connect with my Lord on a closer, more intimate, level. I feel inspired by God to create the portraits I paint.”
The room, though littered with his wife’s artwork, felt utterly empty tonight. Still seated, Bryan slowly panned the room studying each painting until he was facing the only one that was left unfinished. Sitting on the easel, the half-painted canvas portrayed a deer kneeling for a drink at a sparkling brook. In the lower left corner, etched lightly in pencil, were the words ‘As the Deer’. Bryan smiled slightly as he read the words aloud, but the smile quickly faded. Sadness loomed over him, as he stared at the painting.
Bryan remembered Linda telling him about how God had given her the idea for this painting. “Last Sunday at church,” Linda had said “when we sang the hymn ‘As the Deer,’ God spoke to me through the line ‘…I long to worship you.’ Because I express my worship for the God I love through my paintings, He has asked me to paint Him a scene from that song.”
“I thought You said you wanted her to paint this for You? YOU DIDN’T EVEN LET HER FINISH IT!” Bryan yelled as tears trickled down his already wet cheeks.
With fists clenched tightly, Bryan looked up, “Why did You take her from me, God? WHY?”
It had only been three days since the tragic car accident God used to take Linda from Bryan’s life, and only nine hours since Linda’s body was placed in its grave. These had understandably been the hardest three days of his life. He missed her so much it actually scared him. She had always been his source of strength.
Holding his face in his hands, Bryan sobbed like never before. A flood of grief and sorrow swarmed him, overwhelming his emotions.
“How…?” Bryan cried, “How could You? How could You take her from me? How will I ever be able to raise Hannah and Haley by myself? HOW?” Bryan screamed.
Haley was only two and didn’t understand yet that her mommy was never coming home again. Hannah, on the other hand, was four and because both Bryan and Linda had already begun to explain heaven and hell to her, she already knew that her mommy lived with Jesus now.
“I can’t do this by myself. I just can’t!” Bryan continued with quivering lips, “I miss her! I miss her! Please Lord, bring her back to me. Bring her back.”
As Bryan sat crying hysterically, the cool breeze began to pick up strength. The curtain’s dance quickly escalated from a mild classical waltz to an upbeat Latin tango.
“Bryan!” a voice whispered.
Shivering from the frigid air, Bryan’s cries ceased as he heard the voice.
Looking around the room, Bryan asked curiously, “Hello? Who’s there?”
“Bryan. I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”*
Seeing no one, Bryan asked again, “Hello?”
“Bryan…let Me be your strength. You can do all things through Me.”**
“Who’s there? This isn’t funny! Who is this? Where are you?”
Again Bryan asked, this time with a tinge of agitation, “I said…where are you?”
Still seeing no one else in the room, he walked towards the window. “Who’s out there?”
As his jaw dropped, Bryan hesitantly stepped back. “Lord?” he asked amazed, “Is it really You?”
“Yes, my son.”
Dropping to hands and knees, Bryan was speechless as a puddle of tears formed on the carpet beneath him.
“Bryan,” after a short pause, “Linda finally finished her painting for me. It’s her best work by far! The masterpiece will be awaiting your arrival once your work here is done. Trust in Me always, my son. You will never be alone.”
Still crying, Bryan smiled. Though his life had changed forever, he finally realized God never would.
* Joshua 1:5 NIV
** Philippians 4:13 NIV
*** John 8:58 NIV
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