Stolen or Stronger?

This sunlit painting of 'Peahens' also comes with a memory of it being stolen from a local showing.

Stolen.  Really?  How should I feel about one of my paintings being stolen?  It was in a public place and the paintings were not just hung on a nail, they were wired to an eye hook.  Someone had to use wire cutters to take the painting when no one was looking.  Some said I should be angry.  Others (usually other artists) thought it was the coolest thing ever because they thought it to be a compliment.

I enjoyed painting these peahens and the way the light became a major part of the composition.  But now when I see this picture the first thing that comes to my mind is, “oh, that is my painting that was stolen.” In life there are passages that are just not fair.  We may feel like something that was rightfully ours was stolen.  It might be something material, circumstantial or it might be a relationship. I’ve often thought of Joseph in the book of Genesis with his coat of many colors.  He started life as a favored son but that didn’t last long.  Jealousy, favoritism and even Joseph speaking out of turn brought about a series of circumstances that landed Joseph in a foreign jail – for years.  In his innocence he certainly could have felt ripped off.  Yet as Joseph endured his difficulties God built a strength of character in him that could not have been constructed among the niceties of life.  Times of struggle and pressure submitted to the will of God purifies the spirit.  It changes our hearts. When Joseph’s days of testing were over he was able to forgive those who had meant him harm and become a powerful and compassionate leader, saving the lives of many. Like Joseph we can have long seasons of life where we just feel like something was stolen.  Whether we respond like Joseph with grace under pressure, or we just become angry has a lot to do with whether we see our circumstances through the grid of faith.  Faith says our pain has a purpose.  And though we might have to endure for a season (and sometimes that season is long), like Joseph, there will be a time when the troubles part, the reasons are revealed, and we are made stronger for the next leg of the journey.

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