By Dan Schultz
As an artist, I believe that God placed in me a deep desire that I'm compelled to fulfill. I wasn't always aware of this desire and it took me years to identify it as I tried to follow his leading.
It is the need to create.
Of course the arts encompass many forms, but visual art attracted me most. I've now spent the last fifteen years working as a professional artist -- painting, drawing and exhibiting my work in galleries. Through that time I began to realize something. Because God made people in his image, this need we artists feel to create is a reflection of our Creator (Gen. 1:27).
God created a unique and special kind of beauty in the world around us (Matthew 6:28-29). A beauty that can be breathtaking to us, yet looks forward in hope to the time when it will be freed (along with God's children) from death and decay (Romans 8:20-22). Imagine what beauty will look like then! It always makes me think of the passage in Luke that mentions stones crying out in praise of Jesus (Luke 19:38-40).
I believe that whether we're aware of it or not, God uses the beauty of his creation to communicate with us. If that is true, then the role of artists working today is of great importance to our society. Our art has the potential to be a vehicle for communication between God and people.
I think we get a sense of the Creator's reflection upon artists when we consider the power art can have. I've had a few opportunities to watch as a painting physically affected its viewer. (And I don't think it was just from breathing the turpentine fumes.) Perhaps you've seen it too. Tears. Emotion. Maybe you've been affected yourself. Even more amazing is that the artist can't predict how exactly his or her work might affect someone else. There is some sort of connection or communication taking place as one experiences a piece of art. Quite interesting to think about.
If you're an artist of any kind, I hope this post will encourage you to be aware of your spiritual creative connection with our loving and generous Creator. If you're not an artist, I hope you will ponder for a moment next time you see a piece of art. Might the Creator have something he wants to say to you?