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...With Us

I painted this a while ago-- like 5 years ago, a while.

I'm pretty sure I never posted it anywhere because it wasn't my best work. I had only started painting for fun a few months before, and let's just say I was in an experimental stage. One that included muddled colors and texts in languages I couldn't read.

I don't know why I did that. This one happens to be Hebrew, but I added Chinese/Japanese (?) to some paintings as well.

I guess I was drawn to the mystery of these languages. So far out of my wheel house, and yet, they communicated ideas about God that were so foundational to me.

This painting (which, fun fact, I accidently dropped in the grass... instant texture!), is one that I can now read.

I've been learning Biblical Hebrew for the past six months. It's my language requirement for college. People often ask me why I took such a unique and difficult language when I could've taken Spanish or German or something equally conventional.

I took Hebrew, not because I love a good challenge or rejoice over spending hours translating and parsing verbs, but because it's the word of the Word. It's the language that the Old Testament was written in.

There's something exciting about being able to read the original Scriptures, to be able to understand the depth and nuance to each word. Because let me tell you, Hebrew is a complicated language. Taking these Gen Ed classes has been as demanding as the classes for my major.

But I like to think that it's worth it-- because of moments like today.

This painting is one of many that is hanging on the wall behind my bed. The wall is filled with my art, so in all honesty, I don't really notice my paintings anymore. They've become a normal part of my room that my eyes quickly gloss over.

Yet for some reason, I decided to look closer. And for some reason, I happened to fixate on this particular painting. The one I don't like, that is quite literally a dropped mess with indistinguishable letters.

But today, I could distinguish them. After a moment's thought, it dawned on me that the characters I had randomly chosen to paint five years before, were in fact Hebrew.

The first word was אלוהים: "El-oh-heem," God.

As you can imagine, that's a highly used word in the Bible.

But the second, איתנו, stumped me. את, "et," can mean "with", so I had an inkling as to what the text said. The last few characters stumped me though.

Then I realized that it was my own handwriting that messed me up. I won't bore you with the details, but Hebrew characters can look VERY similar, so what I thought was a ב, was actually a נ.

I ended up doing what I'm sure I did five years ago: I used google translate.

(Don't tell my professor; he'd have a fit!)

My suspicions were confirmed: אלוהים איתנו, "El-ih-heem et-nu."

God with us.

Through this little Hebrew "coincidence"-- I'm convinced that there are no coincidences with such an intentional God-- the Lord reminded me that He sees and cares about the details. When I painted this, there's no way I could've known I would learn Hebrew five years later.

But God knew.

And even though it isn't important in the grand scheme of things, God chose to connect the dots for me this morning. Not because this realization of mine will solve world hunger or cure cancer.

I doubt anything big will come out of this. Except for my wonder, now magnified, for my great God. And my joy, for it is such a blessing to be seen, known, and loved by a God who cares.

He knows every hair on our heads and bottles all of our tears (Luke 12:7, Psalm 56:8). No matter how small, each and every detail in our lives is cherished by our Almighty God.

We may not always feel it, friends, but God is always watching, always listening, always loving, always with us.

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