As the young man struggled with paint strokes, vivid colors and different size brushes, Claude Monet, the famous French impressionist entered the studio. Coming up behind the novice, the master studied the painting as well as the frustration on the face on the young painter.
"Would you like me to complete that for you?" Monet asked.
The aspiring artist nearly dropped his brush. "Are you serious? You, Claude Monet, would fix my painting?"
"I'd be happy too," Monet replied.
Relieved, the young artist replaced his brushes, removed his smock and sat back to watch the master at work. You can imagine his horror when he noticed Monet reaching for the widest brush covered in white paint. Before the young man could stop him, the master had taken the wide brush and completely covered all the novice's work with a generous coat of white paint.
"What are you doing?" the young artist screamed.
Monet was unmoved by the outburst. "I can fix your work, but to do so, I must begin again."
The young man sat seething. On the one hand, he felt honored and privileged that someone like Monet would offer to improve his painting. But on the other hand, he was offended that Monet had thought so little of his work and with each passing hour, his bitterness grew. It didn't help that the master painter was making obvious mistakes on his masterpiece. For one who was so famous, it seemed the "master" had much to learn.
But as the painting approached completion, the young man had no choice but to set his bitterness aside. The picture before him was nothing like what he had imagined. It was much, much better. The artist marveled at the colors, the strokes, the combinations of light and angles. From every vantage point, the painting was breathtaking. As the young man studied, he could now make sense of the areas that had previously seemed like mistakes. He could now visualize the inner workings of the masterpiece, and it became all too clear why the master had dismissed his work. It wasn't that it wasn't good. It wasn't that it wasn't worthy of recognition. But the master knew that His way would be better and create better results in the process. The young artist had envisioned a beautiful work of art. But the master had envisioned a masterpiece of mercy.
While this story is fictional (at least, to my knowledge), there is a beautiful picture to be gained from its telling. Some of us assume the role of the struggling artist. We have a clear picture of the way we think life should be, but despite our best efforts, we can't seem to make the picture come together. Each attempt to "fix" things only results in more damage to the work of art.
That's when the Master steps in and says, "Would you like me to do that for you?" Many times we fear to say "yes" because we're afraid that He won't work things out the way we want Him too. Like the young painter, we become offended and bitter when God chooses to wipe away all our hard work and start over from scratch. Unfortunately, since we have yet to see the finished product, that state of bitterness and offense is where we linger. Angry with God for not allowing our dreams to come true. Frustrated with ourselves for not being able to bring things together. Seething in bitterness at God's implication that we can't handle the situation. In a word, miserable!
Yes, it is true that life seldom turns out the way we planned. But God is in control. He sees the masterpiece He longs for our lives to be, and He's eager to work to complete that masterpiece. That means it's necessary for us to surrender the brushes and our will. Whatever we had envisioned, don't you know that God's dream is much bigger and better?
Who's painting your life--the novice or the Master? Hand over the brushes, sit back and watch in awe as the Master creates a masterpiece beyond your wildest dreams.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10