This photograph by Ken Duncan, entitled 'Field of Joy' was recently donated to Barney's by Nancyann Walters. Nancyann felt that God got her attention with the picture and that he had something to say to our Barney's community through it. Here is what she has written:
"I had passed this picture several times in an op shop and never really noticed it. I assumed it belonged to the shop and wasn’t for sale because it was in a different place to where they kept the pictures that were for sale. However, one day in April, I was in the shop and I was drawn to the picture. I noticed that the photographer was visiting Launceston to speak at the Easter Festival of light that had been organized by a group of churches. I also noticed the title and was taken back to the many occasions where God has taught me about his joy, here was a whole field of joy. Although the picture is clearly of flowers, when I saw it I felt that the flowers represented God’s people, a field of joyful followers of Jesus.
I was struck that most of the flowers were facing the same way. There were fewer flowers at the front but as my eye entered into the picture the horizon was filled with sunflowers. I was also struck by the fact that there are many sunflowers standing together with their faces turned to the sun, there are more together than alone. At the horizon the flowers appear only as a wall of colour.
One of the ways God speaks to me is through creation and I sensed that this was one of those times. I bought the picture, took it home, and sat and prayed, asking God what he wanted to show me through this picture and who it was for.
God made it clear to me that this was a picture for the community at Barney’s and that his desire was to encourage us to stand and turn towards his son, Jesus Christ. He is our cornerstone and he is what this community is all about. We are many and God is building us into his army of faithful followers. Every one of us is invited into the army, every one of us has our own unique role to play. Our community will grow, united by the Trinity, in the knowledge and understanding of God as father and king, eyes fixed on the son, walking in the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:25. This is the togetherness of worshipping in Spirit and in truth.
As I prayed, I felt God was declaring a call to us to ‘Look toward the son, knowing that a new day is coming, filled with hope, with joy, and with love.’ I also sensed he was saying:
‘This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.’
Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)
This felt like an invitation and a challenge to trust God for each day and rejoice in Him, regardless of any circumstance or situation that might occur. I then sensed he was reinforcing this by taking me to the following scriptures:
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)
The night is about over, dawn is about to break.
Be up and awake to what God is doing!
Romans 13:12 (The Message)
My sense is that God is offering us HOPE, a hope found in who he is rather than in our circumstances. This is not to be dismissive of the truly challenging situations we often face, but rather to remind us that at all times and in all things, Christ is bigger and more powerful than anything we face. His love is greater, his patience longer, and his compassion and kindness beyond anything we could imagine. In these times, it is not that we deny how hard life is but rather we choose, regardless of our feelings, to fix our eyes, our hearts and our minds on Him and trust that he is everything the Bible tells us he is. We fix our eyes on Him, the author and perfector of our faith, rather than the circumstances that are seeking to overwhelm and consume us. This is the freedom that Jesus died for."
Next time you're at Barney's, take a moment to reflect on the picture and be reminded of the hope we have in Jesus.