Illustrations of Our Lives

by Joanna Pierce on May 31, 2017

A few weekends ago my sister and mother were analyzing children’s books. They were deciphering which books would be appropriate for my nephew to begin reading. I was zero help—I have no comprehension whatsoever of what a child, who’s never read before, should be able to read. When my nephew is of high school or college age, apparently then my recommendations will be age-appropriate…

As my sister and mom flipped through pages, my eye caught a fabulously illustrated book. I’ve always been a sucker for art, and this book was definitely a masterpiece in my book (pun intended).

As a child, I remember my favorite books had beautiful illustrations—ones that could hold my attention for hours. I especially loved the ones that filled an entire page. The adjacent page could have paragraphs of text, but my eyes would devour every detail of the drawing as my mom read the story aloud.

Wordy books, accompanied by an illustration that didn’t have much detail, was too small in scale, or lacked color, were torture to read. Okay—maybe this is an exaggeration, but I couldn’t wait for the page turn to see something new, fresh, and more exciting. I would never voluntarily select such a text to hear at bedtime because the images were boring, mindless, slightly agitating, and a bit frustrating.

Now, I’m not reading books with gorgeous illustrations. I love to read, but the onslaught of life keeps me too busy to settle down with a stack of books my teenage self would have consumed in a day. However, the illustrations capturing my attention today are the ones on the pages of my life. There are times I find my life’s illustrations are boring, monochromatic, and I’m itching to turn the page.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time… (Ecclesiastes 3:11, KJV).

Can I be honest for a moment? Sometimes I feel like the plans God has in store for me for today, and maybe even the future, are boring. I want to do so much more for God. I want the illustrations in my life to always be ornate, intricate, vibrant, and lively. I’ll stare at a picture on a page in my life, and I’m done looking at it in five seconds and ready to see the better one on the next page.

I’m not writing to tell you I’m unhappy with my life or the plans God has for me. I think we all truthfully face this at one point in our walk with God. But, there is a lesson in the illustrations here that goes beyond the page.

I’ve learned when I’m stuck on a specific page, it’s because God’s ordained it. I’m a speed reader in real-life, but in my spiritual life, God slows my reading-pace drastically. There are some things on each page of my life He wants to make sure I understand before I turn to the next page.

Some illustrations may seem boring to me, but they’re the start of a beautiful illustration in His book. While I’m impatient to turn the page, God’s getting ready to add more to the picture—to fill in the details, to add in the colors, and to draw an additional scene I haven’t yet anticipated. I’d miss it all if I turned the page too soon.

I’ve learned—and am still learning—that I need to slow down and appreciate what God has drawn into my life. It doesn’t matter if I don’t like the drawing. Maybe the illustrations aren’t beautiful by my own standards, or they aren’t attractive to start. But, God will reveal their beauty in His time. Their detail will come according to His plan for my life.

The same is for you, dear reader. If you think the stick-figure drawing on my page is a one-of-a-kind, guess again. I’m sure you have a few of those on the pages of your life, or maybe you’re looking at your illustrations with the same pair of glasses I have on.

Remember the beautiful illustration is coming. Don’t get frustrated with where you are in your life’s story. There’s a reason for the simple drawing. Don’t turn the page to your life just yet.