Title: A Path Carved By God
Artwork by: Patsy Shaw (@shawmuchart)
Description: We often find ourselves looking for peace and security in the wrong areas. We believe that if we could just get the right job, earn the right income, or find the right spouse, then all will go well with our lives. We are drawn to these desires because we think they will satisfy us, but it is only when we yield our desires to God, and allow Him to etch out His path for our lives, that we can truly enjoy a life of lasting satisfaction.
I chose to express my journey through linoleum block printing because it’s the perfect medium to convey what a life of following Jesus looks like. Once I carve out the linoleum block, the piece takes on a new form and is forever transformed. In the same way, once God calls us to Himself, His gospel changes not just one small aspect of our lives, but every area of our lives. We might not know exactly what the final image looks like, but He knows what image He has in mind, and with every carve that He makes in our lives, we can trust that it will lead to something beautiful that displays His glory.
We make decisions on a daily basis—some bigger than others. When my time at Penn State University drew to an end, I found myself at a forked road. I had a one-way ticket to the Philippines, where I grew up. There, a luxurious life of medical school, weekend shopping sprees, unlimited TV shows, and every material comfort my heart wanted awaited me. Or I could stay in the US without knowing what my next step would be.
Even though it seemed logical for me to head home, in my heart, I sensed God had something very different for me.
All my life, I thought I wanted to become a doctor just like my parents, but deep down I knew there were other reasons behind my ambition: I wanted to prove to other people that I could do it, and I wanted to earn as much as I could so I could accumulate even more luxuries.
However, all this changed when I was in college. It was here that I experienced what it was like to be part of a church community that loved God and people well, and I was drawn to them. They taught me all about God’s grace—God’s unmerited love for us even though we have done nothing to deserve it, and were instrumental in teaching me and building my faith. Now that I had discovered a community that is so rich in love and grace, my old life at the other end of the Pacific began to pale in comparison.
As I considered the options before me, I was faced with a lot of uncertainty. While I had a set path carved out for me back home, I had no idea where I would work or live if I remained where I was. I was afraid of these uncertainties, but I was even more afraid of losing God and the richness I had found within the church community here.
Dealing with these uncertainties meant that I had to depend on God every step of the way. And He proved Himself faithful by providing me with a job in Philadelphia, a church, and great roommates. I may live in a small house, and my heart aches for my family occasionally, but I can say that God has made my life far richer than I could have ever imagined.
I was searching for peace and security in my old life. But along the way, I found a treasure that far outweighs my earthly desires—the joy of belonging to His Kingdom. Matthew 13:44 says, “The Kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field”. Like the man who has found the hidden treasure, I “sold” my old life so I could buy the field—continuing to live life with my church community.