More to Life - Where can we find a life of meaning and purpose in this chaotic world? Where can we find a peace beyond our understanding? I discovered there is so much more to life than money, career, family, hobbies, interests and even a happy marriage. I don't discount any of these things--they're all important, but they'll pass away within a lifetime. So what is more to life? After a long quest for meaning and purpose, I found God. We can actually have a personal relationship with God's Son, Jesus and choose to follow His plans and purposes. Only then does life began to make sense. God has so much in store for each of us and offers us eternal life through His Son, Jesus. And yes, the afterlife is a real place and we need to make sure we're headed in the right direction.

The Christ Painting

During my college days, my friend, a pre-law student, approached me. "Gail, can you help me with a mural of Jesus for the Friday night fellowship group?"

"I've taken art as an elective, but I can't draw. I only know how to paint in the abstract."

"It doesn't matter. Before I came to Christ, I couldn't even draw a straight line, but God gave me a gift. Just make yourself available to the Lord, and He can use you."

After pondering his words, I decided to help.

Soon after, something uncanny happened. The flat winter sunlight streamed through my bedroom windows, giving the room a subtle glow.

It's too cold to get out of bed.

As I lingered in my warm bed facedown on my pillow, a picture of a man appeared through the golden rose flower of my pillowcase. The man's eyes were shut and something bright shone next to him. I stared at it slacked-jawed. Then it dawned on me, this man looked like Jesus. We can use this Christ figure for the painting. A very deep peace enveloped me.

I leaped out of bed, grabbed a writing tablet and pencil from my desk, and loped back to my pillow. I tried to sketch the image, but the drawing didn't come close. After a few minutes, I gave up and got ready for school.

When I returned in the evening, I made a beeline to my bedroom and headed straight to my pillow. I gazed at the pillowcase, but the vision of Jesus had vanished.

On another day while studying with my friend in the library, he said, "I had two dreams of the Christ painting. In the first dream, a little Christ figure stood on top of the Mount of Olives. Then a larger image of Jesus appeared in the background, His arms extended out, touching both ends of a large cross. The second dream depicted the close-up details."

My friend, who started painting three days earlier, had already painted the Christ figure by the time I'd showed up to help. "Wow! That's a fantastic image of Jesus." I took a closer look and screamed. "You painted the exact image of Jesus I saw through the flower of my pillowcase!" I paused then noticed the bright thing I had seen was the sunset or sunrise.

My friend pointed to the outer borders. "Paint stained-glass images with objects inside the borders that represent idols."

I stared at him blankly.

"You know, like money, material things, even sports. They aren't wrong in and of themselves, but when we put them ahead of God, they trap us and become idols in God's eyes."

Giving it deep thought, I painted a stack of books to represent exalting human knowledge over God's. I dipped my brush into the palette and dabbed some acrylic paint on canvas. Then I painted a hand clutching a $100 bill to represent greed. Halfway through the hand, I nearly dropped my brush.

"Oh, no! I accidently painted six fingers." After struggling for some time, I painstakingly fixed it.
My friend said, "The hand is pointing in the wrong direction. It should point toward the Mount of Olives."

I let out an exasperated sigh.

"Gail, surrender your brush to the Lord."

"Uh . . . what?" New to the faith, I was clueless.

"Let the Lord into the painting."

His words didn't make sense to me, but I prayed, "Lord, I surrender my brush to You." I aimlessly slapped paint on top of the old hand, letting out my frustrations. Inexplicably, a perfect hand with five fingers appeared pointing toward the Mount of Olives. I couldn't believe what I saw.

Then I began to help paint the Mount of Olives, and a narrow, straight road miraculously appeared before my eyes. It led upward to the summit where Jesus stood. I gawked.
On the far left side, I dabbed paint on the cliffs, and a wide road supernaturally appeared and led to a dead-end.

Is this what surrendering the brush means? A verse came to mind about the narrow and wide roads. When I returned home, I searched the Bible and found Matthew 7:13-14.

"Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (NIV)

Sometime later, I looked up the notes for these verses.

Narrow road represents "Believing in Jesus is the only way to heaven, because He alone died for our sins and made us right before God."1 It also means "diligently striving to follow Him whatever the cost."2 At the end of our lives, "only our relation-ship with Christ - our acceptance of Him as Savior and our obedience to Him - will matter."3

The broad road is choosing a way other than God's plan, which has eternal consequences. My heart panged with grief, thinking of all the unsaved people on the wide road.

After two months of long evenings and weekends, we completed the painting. Three USC art professors rated the painting as genius. Despite the accolades, my friend very humbly said, "God used our hands, and all the credit goes to Him."

Over time, I had wallet-sized, Christ Cards made from this painting, which I give to people at every opportunity. It's also a tool to help believers talk about their faith. The back of the card contains the ABCs of Christianity and a prayer to receive God's gift of eternal salvation. The cards have been translated into different languages, and each translation contains a website address with resources in that language-Bibles, audio Bibles, video clips, movies, Father's Love Letter and more. For a complete listing, visit: Christ Cards

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6 NKJV)

1, 2, 3 Life Application Bible New international Version Co-published by: Tyndale House publishers, Inc Zondervan Publishing House © 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991. All rights reserved. Extracted used by permission. p. 1660, p.1833, p.1661

Christian to help you get started.

Bob and I are co-authors of two inspirational books, Popcorn Miracles and Kernels of Hope. Be sure to check out the book trailers.

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