“Emmanuel In My Boat” 16”x 20” acrylic on canvas, by Donna Gonzalez © 2018 photographed with sunlight streaming in
This prophetic painting is based upon a sermon from Mark 4:35-41 where the disciples are in a boat late at night on the sea of Galilee when a sudden storm arose. Jesus comes to them walking upon the water, they think they have seen a ghost but He comforts them, enters the boat rebuking the waves and sea.
I found it interesting that my Pastor said the miracle wasn’t so much that Jesus was walking on the water – though a miracle nonetheless; but that He the Son of God in all His glory was willing to come down from Heaven, into a broken world into our broken lives by entering our boat. I went before the Lord in prayer and meditation of the scriptures and this painting is the result.
The type of boat is a skiff and it represents a person’s life. Skiffs are generally used in fishing or for leisure sailing and others are used in racing competitions.
The young woman is representative of any believer who puts their faith in Jesus Christ.
The waters represent several things; the world and all its anti-Christ philosophy, all the temptations, evils, the pain and sorrows caused by sin and the multitudes of unsaved people.
How does the application of this iconography in the painting relate to the 21st century disciples in Christ? A lot actually.
First, notice the boat is a simple craft, it doesn’t appear too sea-worthy, and isn’t unless Christ is in control of that boat. I purposely didn’t choose a personal yacht because it’s not the everyday life most Christians can relate to. Since skiffs are generally used as a fishing boat it relates perfectly to Jesus’s command to go forth and make disciples, by becoming fishers of men.
19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19
When one becomes born again Jesus willingly enters our boat (our life) regardless how much it has been broken because to Jesus all human life is precious to Him. That the holy King of Glory, the Son of God who created all things and holds all things together by His will, would choose to come and make His abode within a repentant sinner’s life offering the forgiveness of sin, eternal salvation and transforming them into a new creature for God’s glory with a new purpose in life – is so much more of a miracle than Jesus simply walking on water!
17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – II Corinthians 5:17
As the Christian surrenders every part of their life to God He takes control of the sail’s rope leading the believer onward to maturity in Christ Jesus. The believer’s faith, which is more precious to God than gold is refined through all kinds of storms and trials.
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – I Peter 1:6-9
Jesus promises never to leave us and truly He is Emmanuel – God with us, if He sustains everything and holds the world together surely, He can hold our lives together!
16 “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:16-17
Christ’s back is to the wind, His hair blowing representing Him protecting the believer from much of the wind and waves, often without the believer’s knowledge. Jesus lovingly and firmly holds His precious child close to His heart. Likewise, the believer holds tightly unto Christ, steadfastly refusing to give into fear or doubt, not allow anything, no compromise of heart or of mind to come between them. The believer rests her head securely upon His breast, her face serene in full child-like trust knowing He is mighty to save, He is faithful in all His promises and His way is best.
The goal is Heaven the journey is the faith walk of every believer in Christ. The Apostle Paul compares it to a race, competing for a prize, for believers in Christ are promised an imperishable crown through endurance.
24 ”Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.26” -1 Corinthians 9:24-26
May this painting encourage and strengthen believers everywhere not to give into fear or doubt Christ’s promises, no matter what stormy seas may lie ahead. To experience the incomprehensible love, the un-surpassing joy and peace of the Lord that can be ours through obedience and trust in Jesus.