Devotional Readings

Colors of Cheer

Children are a gift from God; they are his reward.” Psalms 127:3, TLB.

“Come on Auntie! Let’s paint!” my 3-year-old nephew, Brendan, exclaimed. Smiling, I scurried to the table and sank into the chair beside him. Then, gazing out the window, lost in the white wonderland of snow, I sighed at the gray sky producing freezing flakes.

“Auntie, look at this!” Brendan cried as his brush swiped broadly across the paper.

But the only colors I saw were as gray as the sky above us. The dreary New York weather was in sharp contrast to the mild California winter I’d left behind to assist my sister, Lisa, with Brendan, and his little brother Cameron during her husband’s military deployment.

Despite the blessings, I was lost in a fog and couldn’t see my way out. It felt as though nothing mattered anymore as I struggled each morning to climb out of bed. Two years before an illness had taken over my life with depression, a vicious cycle of the illness. Brendan and Cameron were the bright spots of this ongoing battle.

“Auntie, come on! Paint with me!” Brendan implored. Obediently, I picked up a brush. “OK, Auntie, here’s what you do” he commanded.

I paused. What color should I choose? None looked very cheery to me. Looking over, I observed Brendan painting only with black. “Bren, I don’t see any color.

Startled he replied, “Auntie, there’s a little blue right there!”–plopping his finger into a puddle of paint. Looking closely, I saw a blur of blue paint mixed with his black clouds.

“You’re right! There is some color there!” I exclaimed, sweeping my paintbrush across the soggy paper.

“That’s it Auntie! You’re painting just like me!” Brendan encouraged.

When circumstances fall beyond our control, God is there encouraging us. Can’t you hear His cries of exuberance? “My child, come on, paint with me!” I couldn’t see any color on that gray day, yet Brendan could see what I couldn’t.

Not long after this experience the world opened up with color, if only for a day. God used my small nephew to brighten “just a little bit” of my world when all I could see was darkness. I can hear Jesus echoing Brendan’s words: “Can’t you see it? There’s a little bit of color here.”

–Lori L. Mantz


from A Word from Home
Ardis Stenbakken (editor) | Review & Herald (2005)
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