By Elsie Egermeier
Up two flights of steps I climbed one day to visit the cozy studio of my artist friend. There I found him quietly at work. The canvas before him was bare when I arrived, but soon it began to take on the initial appearance of a painting. I watched with impatient interest in the development of the scene. A stroke here, another there (apparently meaningless to me were some of them), here a deep hue, there a light shade, but all the while the painting grew more harmonious. I noted the unhurried progress of my friend. “Why doesn’t he splash on the paint a bit more lively?” I wondered.
But finally the last stroke was given and in breathless admiration I gazed upon the beautifully sketched landscape. “It’s wonderful!” I exclaimed, excitedly, “how did you do it without a pattern?” Then with a faint little smile my friend replied, “I had a pattern; I saw with my mind’s eye the picture as it now appears before I began the work.”
Years have passed since my visit to that cozy little studio up two flights of stairs, but since that time I have been a frequent visitor in the great studio of the soul. Here the most wonderful painting is done, by the Master Artist himself. Day after day I have watched the development of color tones upon the canvas, day after day I have seen the skillful brush add a deeper hue here, a lighter shade there. And sometimes I have grown a bit impatient to see the finished product. I cannot even imagine how glorious it will be; I cannot understand why there is need of so much coloring, so many retouches. Sometimes I am almost fearful lest the picture be spoiled, for the brush seems quite reckless as it splashes dark paint upon the canvas. But the Master Artist only smiles at my fears, and soon I see that with his skillful hand he has blended the darker shades into the lighter ones, until the whole background coloring is gloriously harmonious. And all the while I know when I see only the dark spots, and the light spots, that the Master sees the finished product, that he sees how necessary is each trivial thing to bring out the beauty of the completed design.
O troubled soul, can you not take courage anew from this lesson? Can you not see that the strokes which seem to fall like cruel fate upon your already bleeding heart are but the master strokes of the Divine Hand, that they—cruel, meaningless as they seem to be—are all necessary to bring about the beauty of the picture when your life shall be complete?
It is difficult for us to see why every silent grief which tugs at our heart-strings is necessary, how “all things” can work out for our good; sometimes our earth-dimmed sight refuses to catch the heavenly significance of these troublous matters, but where sight fails, faith can wonderfully sustain. And some day—oh, I know that some day when our eyes behold the glory and the unspeakable beauty of the design which God has worked out in our poor little lives, then we shall fall prostrate before him, then we shall marvel at the infinite patience and grandeur of his noble workmanship. For “we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2). “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Psalm 17:15).
Noted author Elsie E. Egermeier is perhaps best known for her Bible Story Book and related works, considered classics today across denominations and around the world. Article originally published in the December 30, 1920, issue of The Gospel Trumpet. Across the United States and around the world, God is on the move in the Church of God. Join the movement. Reach our world. Donate today at give.jesusisthesubject.org.