Rachel, one of our US interns, describes a surprising meeting during a recent pop-up gallery in the Middle East.
During the first night of the gallery show, my heart was struggling to find rest as I noticed many small things that I wished that I had done differently. I felt pushed to the brink of exhaustion and disappointment. My teammate, my friend, took me aside and prayed for me and comforted me, to remind me that God was pleased with me and with the gallery.
Shortly after I arrived back at the gallery, while I was still wet-eyed and shoveling cookies in my mouth, my friend called for me, “Rachel, someone is here to see you.”
Two men, strangers to me, had traveled fourteen hours from the south of the country because a mutual friend between us had told them about the show. I didn’t think they were going to come, but they were here!
These men were believers as well as highly accomplished artists. They told us that they had not seen any art gallery at all in many years and they were astonished that we had come all the way from the States to create an art gallery in which every painting talked about Jesus, without ever depicting him directly. They loved this approach because they felt like they had often been forced to create rote images of Christ and had not been given much room to be creative.
One of the artists stayed with us for all three days of the gallery and proceeded to create prophetic art live one night. His image really struck me. In it a woman, representing his country, looked down at a cloud while rays of sunshine hit just above her horizon. He wanted to show that though his country is heavy with the weight of her problems, hope is available for her if she would only look up.
I can identify with her. It is easy for me to see only the things that are going wrong, like I did at the beginning of the gallery. However, when I choose to look up at God’s gifts, like visitors from afar, I find hope, joy, and freedom.