The Daily Decision
After placing all my energy, passion and resources into the initial launch of Hope Delivered, it was heartbreaking for me to not see it take off in the way that I had hoped it would, like others expected it would or like I thought God promised it would. (More on this in my previous post.) In the spring of 2015, I was struggling with the reality that Hope Delivered might have completely failed. I hadn't sold a piece of art in several months and no one seemed to be interested online. I kept trying to push it by my own power, but by the end of March I had reached my limit and slowly walked away from Hope Delivered altogether. Feeling defeated, I headed off with Amber to our annual marriage retreat where I had the chance to really focus on many aspects of my life in my current season. During some quiet listening prayer, I felt God nudging me to write in my journal. This is what came out:
You must learn to trust me. It’s rooted in the reality of not being in a secure way of life. It stems from living a life of fear of failure and not having enough money to make ends meet, but Chad, I’m all you need. You see, I love you so much Chad, and by living in this way, you are missing out on the blessings I want to give you. You must place your full trust in Me—let go of the fear of failure, being poor and unsuccessful. For I will make you more than those things. I see you are a godly man; you are no longer known as "the comic book guy," but as a man of God. You will change so many lives if you just let go of those fears and just trust me—FULLY. I have so much in store for you. Just trust me.
As the week at the retreat progressed, God continued to show me more of what he wanted Hope Delivered to be. One of those things was for me to start painting again, which frightened me since I had not held a paintbrush in over ten years. However, I knew I must trust God fully and if he called me to paint, well, then I must paint.
INSPIRATION & PURPOSE
As I was praying about how to go about painting, God revealed to me Psalm 22 (NLT). I quickly turned to that scripture in the Bible and the opening verse hit me like a ton of bricks:
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? (Psalm 22:1 NLT)
This had been my prayer to God for several months as I wondered why he allowed Hope Delivered to fail and caused me to look foolish and simply left me high and dry. So many questions and yet no answers... I continued to read:
For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help. I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you. (Psalm 22:24-25 NLT)
That was the answer I needed! I realized that God never forgot me, but I forgot him. I had moved away from him instead of moving closer to him. God never turned His back on me, but listened to every prayer I prayed to him and was trying to redirect me. I also realized that I wasn't fulfilling my duties of what he called me to do. I didn't put any time or effort into Hope Delivered when it slowed down because I assumed that God was going to make everything happen. Yes, God gave me the vision, but it was up to me to fulfill it. In that moment, I chose to turn my face towards God and praise him, because he is so deserving. More encouragement came to me in the form of song lyrics in Closer Than You Know by Hillsong United from the Empires Album:
Lift up your eyes and see
Heaven is closer than you know
Know I'll never leave you
So lift up your voice and sing
Know that My love won't let you go
As I obediently began to paint again, I knew that my first piece should be something that I would see every morning to remind me to make the choice to keep my eyes on Jesus, my voice in a song of praise, my mind in the realization that He will never leave me and my heart aware of His never-ending love. Even in my most confident moments, I know that Satan, the world and my flesh are all nipping at my heels in hopes of my failure. This painting, The Daily Decision, reminds me to keep my eyes on the prize. The Daily Decision not only symbolizes the first time I have painted in more than 12 years, but it is also my personal ebenezer that God will never fail me if I choose to follow him daily.
Acrylic Painting on 24" x 36" Canvas