"Little Emily" Oil Painting Study by S.D. Harden
(after an original illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith)
"Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see.
Faith helps us understand that God created the whole world by his command.
This means that the things we see were made by something that cannot be seen.
Without faith no one can please God. Whoever comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who sincerely try to find him." Hebrews 11:1, 3, 6
"Little Emily" is an oil painting study I did in college when I was 20 years old. It's a copy of an illustration by my favorite illustrator Jessie Willcox Smith. (1865-1934)
(The original by JW Smith is far nicer in every way if you want to compare them.)
But as a young art student I loved copying all of my favorite artists in the hopes that I could someday attain to their level of excellence.
Little Emily seems to me an illustration of someone who is walking by faith.
Balanced on a narrow beam over a deep body of water into which she could fall at any moment, she nervously walks toward her goal.
In my heart, I imagine that the narrow beam she is walking on is God's trusted word. It will not fail her. But she must stay upon it. The way of life is narrow. And one must not walk to the right or to the left.
And if one turns back~look at the painting~she goes off the deep end!
The past exists no more.
One just has to keep going forward, walking on the path of God's proven word.
Jesus said, "The whole world, earth and sky, will be destroyed, but my words will last forever." (Matthew 24:35)
God never lies. We can trust His word.
"God is not like people. He tells no lies. He is not like humans. He doesn’t change His mind. When (God) says something, He does it. When He makes a promise, He keeps it." ~ (Numbers 23:19)
That painting reminds me of how so often our lives are a balancing act of faith over deep waters upon the bridge of God's trusted word.
God is in His word. God is in our hearts. He will not fail us. As we keep our eyes focused on Christ, and do not become distracted, we will not lose our balance and fall into the sea of worry, doubt, fear, depression, anxiety and everything else that robs us of our joy.
But if we do somehow fall, we have a Good Shepherd, a Savior with a powerful hand who will reach down into those murky depths and pull us out.
His word promises:
"God reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters." (Psalm 18:16)
"The steps of good men are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take. If they fall, it isn’t fatal, for the Lord holds them with his hand." (Psalm 37:23-24)
We serve a mighty God. He says, "I am the Lord. I am the God of every person on the earth. You know that nothing is impossible for me.” (Jeremiah 32:27)
Prayer: Thank You, Heavenly Father, that nothing is impossible for You! You can keep us on the path of life, restore us if we somehow fall, and that Your word is our bridge of safety that will never fail us. We love You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Unto The Least of These "Bridge of Safety" © 2014 S.D. Harden All Rights Reserved. Illustration: "Little Emily" Oil Painting copy by © S.D.Harden (after an original illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith)