Inspiration Behind This Painting
This was painted a week before Russia declared war on Ukraine. I now see this painting as a tribute to people who have endured war throughout history, including today’s Russia and Ukraine. As I sit down reading the news and pondering at war, I recognize it can be for myriad of reasons – human desire for power, greed, sin leading to more sin, natural consequence of moral degradation in a society and sometimes as result of judgment by God for outright wickedness. All of these are Biblically valid reasons. Where is God during such times? Is He absent or does He turn a blind eye, or worse yet, stand with fury waving His finger on broken humanity? When innocent lives are snuffed out, is He standing with a stone heart, frowning at sinful humanity?
I did not paint this painting with war in my mind. When I started going through my palette, I picked up orange and yellow and white and Gold and saw fire. War is like the fire of hell, devouvering lives, families, cultures, countries and humanity. Sin is not passive – its agressive. It is not satisfied until lives are completely destroyed. When I was done with most of my painting, I saw 4 figures in the midst of fire, reminding me of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Where is God when humanity is breaking? Right there in the fire with the broken humanity! When Jesus died at the cross, His body broken – He showed His willingness to be there with us in our brokenness. So I know where God is, as fire rains in Ukraine, killing lives on both sides – He is right there, in the fire.
But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”
Daniel 3:24-25 NLT
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