In my measly attempt to be an artist, there are inescapable truths and realities I must face and accept. I can adjust and manipulate the paint to create a mood, attempt to reveal an idea through symbolic images, or simply to reveal beauty in an every day object. I can use the rules of perspective, or formulas of color, but I cannot change them. Greens will always be made my mixing blues and yellows. The casting of light on an object will always create reliable variations of shadow. The horizon line in a landscape will always be found depending on the position point of the viewer. And the technical concepts of perspective that we use in architecture and design are all found in and stolen from nature, revealed to us through science and geometry. The artist uses these formulas in an attempt to “create art” which is merely an attempt to copy nature, and to create the illusion of a scientific truth.
The artist must not rely only on his own desire for expression or creativity or on his own voice or talent. The intelligent artist knows that in order to produce great art, they must study, accept and apply the scientific truths that are unchangeable. Knowing that he can make adjustments, and can earnestly attempt to create something unique, he also knows that the foundational theories found in light and color are inescapable. And he can’t deny the reality that perspective is fully dependent on mathematical precision and on the viewer’s point of reference.
In comparison, the Christian must learn to see, accept and apply immovable truths that can have a big impact on one’s ability to have the right perspective on God. First, we must accept that He is the same, today and forever. He has told us who He is already. If we are hoping to change Him so that he fits into our desired “acceptable” idea of what we think a god should be like, then he will be forever changing, formed by the whims of our heart, being chipped away and formed by ignorant hands. We may never worship a real idol made of wood or stone, but if we are creating and shaping god into our desired view, then we are also guilty of idolatry and rejecting immovable truths.
One’s view of God is not based only in faith, although God is pleased with the heart that is exemplary in its solidarity. A Christian does live by “sight” as well. We are allowed, by His grace to see His steady handiwork. We can look back over our own life and get a glimpse of answered prayer and see evidence of His presence and leading. We can “see” His work within a failed marriage that has been restored or even rebuilt. We can see His patience with a wandering or rebellious heart and transformation in circumstances that are beyond human control. We are “eye witnesses” of who He is and tellers of these sights. “Blessed are those who have not seen and still believe”. Likely, they are the ones who have seen greater things, the immovable truths.
One of the most important adjustments needed in our perspective is that we are often under the illusion that God is the one following us. This “image” of us, traveling on this road of life, and in moments of feeling lost, or alone, we simply ask God to show Himself to us so that we can be reassured of His presence. We cry out, “Lord are you there? Show yourself to me, so that I know that I am going the right way.” This fear that we have stepped onto a path outside of His will or that we have been allowed to wander unknowingly into an unwanted abyss is too big a burden for us to carry. We are called to seek Him not because He is hiding, but because He knows our perspective will easily be affected by fear or by doubt and we are urged to keep our focal point based in truth and not in illusions. In actuality, it is we who are following Him. Whether in His shadow, or in His light, we are surrounded by His presence and can’t escape it. As we abide and as He leads, we follow, we trust, we obey, we abide, all the while, He is leading. We can always find Him by looking ahead and “knowing” that He is there. This perspective helps us to rely on the immovable promises that He has made to everyone who calls on His name by faith. He will not easily let us go, so the idea that we can take one step and find ourselves on a tumultuous path, outside of His will is a careless view of His grace, His love and His ability to guard what has placed itself in His shadow. If you love Him, you are following Him. Let Him lead.