A common misconception of the Christian faith is that since God is for us, we will not suffer, despite scripture to the contrary. However, the greatness of God is not defined solely by His ability to keep us from pain, but also His promise to bring us through the challenges of pain, catastrophe and evil. He promises to never leave us, and to make beauty and perfected character in us out of our hardship and trials. (Deut 31:6; Rom 5:3-5; Heb 2:10; Is 61:1-3).
The twisted juniper tree is a living testament to these truths of God's character. Twisted junipers face environmental hardships of hurricane force sheer winds, extreme drought, severe cold, and blizzards on an annual basis. To combat these hardships, their root systems plunge up to 30’ through the solid rock of cliffs and mountainsides to find sustaining water. Thus, where other trees would die in such extremes, the tenacious root systems and twisted growth patterns allow the twisted juniper to persevere against such extreme trials, creating trees of unparalleled beauty.
I painted this twisted juniper simply because I want to be like this magnificent tree! I want to be a testament to God's sovereignty, goodness, and faithfulness, and to be the kind of person whose character triumphs over hardship no matter the season. Looking up at this tree's twisting and patterned bark from a worm's eye view creates a beautiful interplay of value, color and texture, while showcasing the magnificence of this 150-200 year-old tree.
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