But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. (Isaiah 53:5,6)
I had the great honor this week of creating art pieces during the Glory Conference at Calvary Lighthouse Church in Rochelle, Illinois. Each day before the service, I would spend time with the Lord to ask Him what He wanted to say that night to the people. During the morning service at the altars, God changed something in me. My heart was breaking because my talents mostly reached people who already knew God but seemed useless to help people to understand God’s love for the first time. I have always had a heavy burden on my heart to reach people who are in darkness and pain, but I just didn’t know how. Many ministers prayed for me as I stood at the altar, but one in particular made an impact on my heart as he prayed. He prayed for me to receive the seed of the evangelist and said, “Receive the anointing.” When he spoke these words the power of God came over me, and it was so powerful, I couldn’t even stand. My legs couldn’t bare the weight of God’s presence, and I quickly ended up on the carpet with many tears of mourning and joy. I knew God was going to answer my prayer to reach people with my art, but the sheer number of those in need grieved me. I wept openly before the Lord and cried out to God to give me artwork that would speak into the hearts of the lost people. And God showed me this image. God showed me that this was not just a visual art piece, but it was also a performance piece. The Lord said, “I want you to be violent.”
As I built my canvas for the night, I prepared my heart for this piece. Having no experience with performance art pieces, I asked God for help. And when the time came closer and closer, I knelt at the altar again to speak to God because I was hurting. I prayed, “Lord, I don’t want to be the one whipping you! I don’t want to mutilate you!” Then God showed me, “But you are the reason I was mutilated. You are the reason I went through that. I love you so much that I wanted to endure it to rescue you even though you were the one who hurt me.” I wept again, realizing that this was the message Jesus needed to speak. We need to humble ourselves and know that Jesus endured suffering because of us.
As I drew Jesus’s back, I was gentle and graceful. I considered Jesus’s great love for everyone in the room, and I wanted them to know the violence He suffered for their healing. I wanted to paint a picture of grace they could watch for themselves so they could know the horrors of His pain. Before I mutilated what I had created, I stepped back so the crowd would be able to experience the contrast. When the Lord said, “Now,” I took red chalk in both hands and attacked the canvas with as much violence as I could muster. Overwhelming grief clouded my eyes with tears; He was tortured as a result of my rebellion against God. But I knew without his suffering, I could not be saved. In Isaiah 52, the scriptures say He was unrecognizable as being human because he was so horrifically mutilated.