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Come to the Garden Book | Ballerinas and Boats…A Message From The Master

Ballerinas and Boats…A Message From The Master


As a young girl, I loved to sit and lose myself in the two paintings that hung on the wall over my bed.  Painted by French Impressionist Edgar Degas, they were scenes of ballerinas in rehearsal.  My imagination placed me in the midst of these graceful ballerinas, dressed beautifully in tulle and toe shoes.  In reality, I was a beginning ballerina, enrolled in classes and had every aspiration to be a classically trained ballerina like those in the painting.  Alas, my grace was not quite up to the required standards for prima ballerinas, but a girl could dream.  So, I lived out my passion in the paintings. That is what I love about art.  I have always been amazed at how viewing colorful strokes of paint masterfully applied to a piece of canvas can evoke my most secretly held passions and desires, while also revealing the passions of the artist.

Degas loved his ballerinas and Claude Monet loved his gardens and haystacks.  I have taken many a stroll through water lily gardens and tranquil pastures with Monsieur Monet. But there is one painting that draws me like no other.  It is called “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” by Master painter Rembrandt van Rijn.  A devout Christian, Rembrandt was noted for his biblical narrative paintings.   In this particular painting, a fishing boat carrying Jesus and his twelve disciples is being violently tossed by the waves of a storm.  But wait.  There is a thirteenth disciple…in the forefront of the painting stands a man clinging to the rigging with one hand and holding his cap on his head with the other, and is looking straight out toward the viewer…you and me.  This thirteenth disciple is Rembrandt himself.

Rembrandt knew that he was so much like these disciples.  They began their excursion with Jesus in calm waters.  Everything was fine, life was good.  Then the storm hit.  Their Master was there, but he was asleep.  They panicked.  They were afraid.  Then they cried out.  And He answered.  And as He returned calm to the sea and to their lives, He once again showed them His incredible power and admonished, “Where is your faith?”

I am like Rembrandt in that my heart knows that Jesus is always there, but when the storms of life hit and clouds of chaos whirl around me, I find it is so easy to panic and run in circles trying to set things right…and I forget who really is in control.  And when I finally remember that Jesus is there, always, to calm the storm, only then do peaceful waters return to my heart. What I need to remember is to do as I did as a little girl when I imagined myself in the ballerina paintings.  Like Rembrandt, I need to climb into the boat with Jesus.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for raising your hands and unleashing your power and authority over my life.  Thank you for calming my storms and granting peace beyond understanding to this heart that loves you so.

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