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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)

TITLE: A Picture Within A Picture
By Lisa Evans
05/28/09


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A Picture Within A Picture

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:21-23)


As I followed the concrete path during my early a.m. stroll, I was privy to see the birth of morning unfold. Beneath her radiance lay green pastures, still waters, and nature giving praise to its creator. The trees were stretching upward, standing tall; the birds were singing and soaring; and a swarm of dragonflies were buzzing right along. I stared at the vibrant colors of daybreak knowing that what I was beholding, initially, was a blank canvas in the infinite mind of God, the greatest artist this world would ever know.

Continuing on in my walk, I was soon baffled at the impending artwork a mere ten steps away from the aforementioned view; even the melodious sounds of life that filled the air ceased to exist. I had come to an inset, a picture within a picture, where it seemed apparent that the artist’s palette of brilliant colors had been exhausted. Suddenly, the breathtaking view on my picture perfect trail shifted from awesome to awful.

Within moments I stood before an unsightly art exhibit; a painted backdrop of multi-shades of grays, mossy greens, and black hues flaunting the deepest, darkest, murkiest waters conceivable. Interestingly, much of the foliage in the background was clothed in green attire, but the trees closest to the murky waters seemed victimized by a premature winter; dead trunks with brittle and decrepit branches reaching up from a stagnant quicksand pond.

What I saw was equivalent to the image branded in those who have witnessed the bloodstained sidewalks of rival gangs or the emptiness of a barren woman’s womb. Then something caught my eye that would eventually shift my perception again, this time from awful to amazing. In the middle of all that deadness was life, and had I continued to be enthralled by the lifeless matter, I would have missed it: A crane was roosting on a branch right in the center of the tree.

Back home in Virginia, there is a similar inset that I drove by almost everyday and its marshlands, too, became the resting place for perching cranes. I must admit, their still-life pose oftentimes caused me to mistake the longed-neck, gray bodied birds for an extension of the tree limbs. But here, there was no mistaken this crane for a rickety, old tree branch because this crane was completely white.

At first, I couldn’t understand why such a beautiful creature would even consider visiting what resembled a toxic wasteland; then I began to get a spiritual parallelism that amazed me more than the view itself. The green pastures and still waters represented the kind of life God has for our indulgence. Yet, so many of us are buried in the murky waters of lifelessness; we are drowning in the quicksand pond of financial woes, employment blues, and stagnant dreams. We look at our surroundings and all we can see is the hopelessness. In our minds, we imagine the beautiful picture of a land flowing with milk and honey but in reality, we’re stuck existing in the desolate wasteland… an inset life- a picture within a picture.

Though a panoptic view of our past, current, and future endeavors might appear bleak, if we can zoom in on Jesus, the Living Word and not focus on the dead things in our yesterday, we can embrace the mercies of God today which keep us from being consumed! The more I looked at that white crane, which was like a light in a dark place, the more I thought about how Jesus, the light of the world, visited me in my darkest, murkiest, most sinful days of my being and He gave me life, hope and a future through His merciful gift of salvation.


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This article has been read 491 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/28/09
I could visualize the whole scene, so beautifully did you describe it.
Lollie Hofer 05/29/09
This was picture-perfect. Your strong-descriptive words were vivid and clear. I also enjoyed the contrasts (a picture within a picture). The message was good as well.
Margaret Kearley 05/31/09
This is wonderful and such a blessing to read. The last paragraph particularly is awesome! Many thanks.
Janice Fitzpatrick06/04/09
WOW is all I cna say. This could be a story type devotion. What an impact it had on me. This lifted my eyes to see the Lord in the midst of darkness and gloom. Praise God.
I wrote something a little similiar to this this time, noticing a lone fire fly light up in a backyard after 4th of July celbrations had come to a close.
Then one by one it seemed as if the whole place lit up with the glory of God, as a yard full of little beacons flashed their tiny lights, in a "Small Shining Revelation"-2nd level.
Thank you for writing this piece hon. Congratulations on your win too. You deserved it.
Carol Slider 06/04/09
Thanks for so vividly conveying your meaningful experience. Congratulations!
Myrna Noyes06/04/09
CONGRATULATIONS on your EC and Level 1st Place for this wonderfully-written, insightful piece!

My favorite paragraph:

"Within moments I stood before an unsightly art exhibit; a painted backdrop of multi-shades of grays, mossy greens, and black hues flaunting the deepest, darkest, murkiest waters conceivable. Interestingly, much of the foliage in the background was clothed in green attire, but the trees closest to the murky waters seemed victimized by a premature winter; dead trunks with brittle and decrepit branches reaching up from a stagnant quicksand pond."
Sharon Kane06/04/09
Hearty congratulations! I think devotional pieces are extremely difficult to write well, and they often turn out to be dull, predictable, even downright boring! This totally broke the mould for me. Your descriptions were vivid and the application was spot on and not over done. Well done!
Charla Diehl 06/04/09
Because I am a lover of nature, this piece really drew me in. Great, great job of depicting the two pictures and bringing them to life for the reader. And the message was superb. Congrats on your win.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/05/09
First place in Advanced! Look at you, my Friend! Congratulations. I loved the descriptions and message you presented. Excellent writing.