Writing in The Atlantic, author Arthur C. Brooks tells of his visit to the National Palace Museum in Taiwan, which contains one of the largest collections of Chinese art in the world. The museum guide asked, “What do you think of when I ask you to imagine a work of art yet to be started?” Brooks said, “An empty canvas, I guess.” The guide replied, “There’s another way to view it: The art already exists, and the job of artists is simply to reveal it.”
In Ephesians 2:10, the word handiwork, sometimes translated as “workmanship” or “masterpiece,” is from the Greek word poiēma, from which we derive our word poetry. God has created us as works of art, living poems. However, our art has become obscured: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins” (v. 1). To paraphrase the words of the museum guide, “The art [of us] is already there, and it’s the job of the Divine Artist to reveal it.” Indeed, God is restoring us, His masterpieces: “God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive” (vv. 4–5).
As we go through challenges and difficulties, we might take comfort in knowing that the Divine Artist is at work: “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). Know that God is working in you to reveal His masterpiece.