Friday, August 19, 2016
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11(NLT)
In 1791 a young man was born whose driving ambition was to be a great artist. Despite early opposition from his father, he later ended up studying for his goals in London and Paris. After his return to America from London, he became the founding president of the National Academy of Design. His most famous painting would, in 1982, sell for $3.25 million. But events did not seem so bright to him in 1834. The painting that would one day sell for millions now sold for only $1,200. The opportunity to paint one of the four giant panels for the new U.S. Capitol building eluded him. In disillusionment and frustration the young painter laid aside his artwork and began to experiment with a new area that, until then had been only a hobby with him. Thus it was that Samuel F.B. Morse gave the world the telegraph.[ii]
What seems at times an agonizing detour in our lives is often God’s hand gently directing us to a greater part of His plan. Considering the role communications plays in contemporary culture, science and world relationships, Mr. Morse was a rather considerable cog in the wheel of progress who helped make it all possible.
However, had you quoted Jeremiah 29:11 to Samuel the day he had to lay down his brushes and paints he might have laid them on top of your head like a hammer. It’s hard to see a rainbow ahead when you’re being drenched by a downpour in the present.
But, it’s true that, sometimes detours are only a different way to the plans of blessing God has in store. Samuel Morse was a gifted man God used to bring about wonderful changes in communication. But he was also an artist at heart and he was able to put on canvas this loving portrait of his wife and two children.
Mr. Morse was not the next Michelangelo, or Picasso, but this family heirloom hangs in the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Ga.
At times the plans God may have for us might seem as if they’re filled with root canals and bill collectors. But it is also a stark reality that God’s ways are much higher (and better) than any we might make for ourselves (Isaiah 55:8).
Despair over the way things turn out can only lead to self-pity and anger. Think about what the world would have missed without Mr. Morse’s willingness to take up a new pathway in his life’s detour.
A couple of good questions:
1. What detour has you bogged down?
2. What new plan of God can you discover while you’re down there in that bog?
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[ii] Richard Sassaman, What Hath Morse Wrought? in American History Illustrated, XXIII (April 1988), 46-47