Monday, May 24, 2021

Bob Ross and God

 He's one of the most soothing personalities ever to appear on television. Joy and peace pour forth from his words. Bob Ross inspired countless viewers to paint, and he brought joy to the rest of us with his canvas magic.

Watching Bob Ross leads you down a constant path of cringing and relief. He begins with ugly blobs of color that quickly become recognizable and then beautiful. When the scene takes shape, he inevitably mars the beautiful landscape with destructive, oil-based funk. Then a few strokes later, the new image immerges. With a few more strokes the scene is more beautiful than ever.

On our vacation earlier this month we pulled up a Bob Ross episode. He went through his predictable, jarring pattern, time after time. At one point as he ruined his masterpiece, my daughter said, "Well, this is Bob Ross, of course, and I trust him." Bob knows what he's doing. He mixes odd colors together on his palette and makes new and beautiful shades. He takes errant brush stokes and turns them into "happy little trees." He puts formless paint on the canvas and quickly brings it to life. Then he adds depth and reflection.

So is the work of God in our lives. Unexpected circumstances or people come our way, and mar the landscape of our lives. The colors of strange experiences mix together to make hues we never desired. Ugly colors coat our preferred happiness. Then over time we can see these problems turn into something beautiful. The ugliness gives way to beauty, a deeper beauty than we ever imagined. Mistakes become happy little trees or grand mountains of meaning.

This is God's painting and we can trust him. And with that trust comes peace and joy.