Most adults know the American artist Bob Ross that was featured on the PBS show THE JOY OF PAINTING. Even if they were not avid watchers of his program, they could probably tell you that he had a big afro, a soft voice, and that he liked to make "happy little trees". Many people who've never picked up a paint brush will admit to watching Ross because there was something about his program that captivated them. Though his show went off the air in 1994 & he passed away a year later...Bob Ross is very much a part of popular culture today. Not only has Netflix released Bob Ross: Beauty is Everywhere, but there are now bobble heads, t-shirts, and a board game featuring Ross. What was it about Ross that garnered such a place/relevance in our culture? I see that he met a need. People long for peace & comfort in a world full of noise, stress, and chaos. For a few minutes while getting lost in the world of Bob Ross, people feel a sense of calm from his voice, order from the process he demonstrated in painting, and that mistakes are only opportunities for new direction. There is comfort...if only for a moment.
I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees. Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law. I remember, Lord, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.
Psalm 119: 48-52
Many struggle with what is going on in our world today. There is so much pain, conflicts, confusion, distractions, destruction, and hopelessness. Globally, nationally, locally, and personally people are feeling as if things are crumbling around them. They grasp at things that will provide only momentary comfort. God offers us comfort that is eternal. It does not come when our lives are free from all the pain & "junk"...but as the Psalmist writes "My comfort IN my suffering..." Our hope is not that the world will get it's act together, but in God alone!! When we truly comprehend this truth...we will experience His comfort in the good times & in the bad times. Even if the world or just our world feels like it is crumbling around us....we can experience comfort...we can experience peace. His Word provides us with the truth we need to make it through each & every situation we face. We can bring our pain, conflicts, confusion, distractions, destruction, and hopelessness to God. He will not be shocked by what we are going through. He will not shake His head at what you are going through. He will stand there with outstretched arms waiting for you to fall into His embrace. He is waiting to comfort you. Come.