Sir Arthur Williams, England's finest curator of impeccable Christian art, ran his slender fingers along the gold-plated frame of his most recent prized possession. Never had he seen such a brilliant display of color, contour and design. It was as if the subjects in the painting were lifelike and could move at any moment. The exquisite landscaping captured his attention and drew him in to where he felt a part of the scene itself. The image clearly depicted God's majesty and grace. He surmised the Queen would be pleased with his purchase.
However, with all of its excellence in splendor and perfection, Sir Arthur was disturbed by something. He could barely recognize the painter's signature. Upon closer inspection, Sir Arthur was stunned. Surely, the painter did not mean to sign his name with such contrast to such a fine piece of work. Surely, he did not mean to sign it with such carelessness and bad taste. Who, in their right mind, would sign a painting as "Grievous"? Sir Arthur shuddered to think that the artist would mean monstrous but hoped that the painting was born out of sadness from the loss of someone the painter had loved.
"I want to meet this Grievous," said Sir Arthur to the exhibitor.
The exhibitor knew one of the Queen's demands was that all artists appear with their work to verify their work's authenticity. But he hesitated.
"Is there a problem?" said Sir Arthur.
The exhibitor stuttered, "N-n-no, sir. Right away, sir."
The exhibitor left and shortly returned with a man who needed prodding to walk as he shuffled. Sir Arthur blinked in astonishment. The man bent forward, apparently from the strain of a large growth on his back. His muscular arms, lazily at his sides, swayed when he walked, reminiscent of The Hunchback of Notre Dame's Quasimodo. His long, matted hair draped his head that he hung in shame. His tattered shoes and torn clothing displayed nuances of his ilk, a commoner of the worst kind.
Sir Arthur gasped and thought: How could something so grotesque create something so grand? Then he remembered what a pastor friend told him once. It matters not how we look to others. What matters is that we make ourselves available to be used as instruments of the One who made us.
Grievous stopped a few feet from Sir Arthur and fell to his knees. Sir Arthur, while still staring at Grievous, dismissed the exhibitor with a wave. Sir Arthur cleared his throat and said, "Oh, my friend. I wish you wouldn't kneel. It is I who should kneel before you."
Sir Arthur stepped forward and reached down. He held Grievous's head in both of his hands, lifting it up until their eyes met. He peered deep into Grievous's tearful blue eyes and let his gaze linger. Looking past the hideousness of Grievous's facial deformity, he saw the soul of a wounded angel. Choking back his own tears, Sir Arthur said something that would change Grievous's life forever: "Never let anyone tell you to be ashamed of your difference or that you're not good enough. Your difference is what makes you unique, special and worthy of a life filled with love and laughter. In God's eyes, you are valuable and precious. And like the beautiful paintings you create, you are who you are because of the Artist who put you together.
"So rise, dear one, and return to your abode of creativity. For I shall soon return to buy more of your wondrous work to please the Queen and her royal family."
Slowly, Grievous rose. But before he turned to leave, he grasped Sir Arthur's hands and said, "This day, you have touched me in ways you cannot imagine. From now on, I shall no longer sign my paintings as Grievous. I shall be known as Grateful -- to you, to her majesty the Queen, but more importantly, to the most high God. Thank you, sir."
Sir Arthur, speechless, noted this was not a chance meeting but a divine appointment from the Almighty. He could hardly believe what had just happened: a supernatural healing of a heart teeming with years of hurt and pain. Truly, Grievous was blessed beyond measure, having an epiphany of sorts -- and Sir Arthur witnessed a glorious modern-day miracle of miracles.
Bob Valleau has over 30 years of writing experience for the Christian market. He was once named Christian Writer of the Year (San Antonio, Texas) by the American Christian Writers Association. He is the author of four books.
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