In the movie “Field of Dreams” one character asks “Is this Heaven?” and the chuckle-inducing response is, “No… it’s Iowa.” With apologies to my Iowa friends, I wonder how much we think about Heaven. Do we think about it at all? Is there a place where everything is perfect? Will I see my loved ones again? Or is it all just wish fulfillment for folks who long for something better than this world?
We don’t know where you stand on the idea of Heaven, but as Christians we believe there is a Heaven. The Bible describes Heaven as a place where there is no more death, sickness, pain, or even crying. Heaven is where all the wrongs and brokenness we experience here on earth are wiped away because Christ is seated on His rightful throne.
Can you even imagine a place where there is no pain, no broken relationships, no sickness? A place of perfect love and perfect community. Here, it feels as though everything is a little off, a little out of focus. In Heaven life works the way it was meant to work, and we see things as they really are. And when community and relationships work here, despite the messiness and mistakes, we get a glorious foretaste of what it will be like there. There is real beauty, real goodness, real truth. We see dimly here, as through a veil. There we will see clearly, because we will see Christ face-to-face.
Here at the Art of Encouragement, we love stories. Not all our stories are filled with the beauty and wonder of heaven, but they can point us there. Even in the unhappy stories, we can still have a taste of what awaits, if only in the longing in our hearts for something more. Art also tells a story. We hope you find a place here that will not only delight your eyes with beautiful visual art, but also a place to receive encouragement, wherever today finds you. In time, we hope to create a community of encouragers who are each creating their own artwork with whatever skill they have.
Webster’s dictionary defines art as “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feeling,” and encouragement as “the act of making something more appealing or more likely to happen; something that makes someone more determined hopeful, or confident or something that makes someone more likely to do something.”
Lasting encouragement that produces that type of determination, hope and confidence requires imagination and skill. When done well, encouragement is a thing of beauty; it is art.
So stop on by; stay awhile; read some encouraging stories; pick up a print to remind you of those stories. Then as you enjoy that visual story, continue the conversation within your own community – share in some of that glorious foretaste here.