top of page

Possible with God

Image of an abstract polymer clay relief sculpture by Sara Joseph on display at the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center

For rather obvious reasons, I find myself fascinated with biblical Sara, her lengthy life, her many challenges and her quiet responses to each of them as they rudely disrupted her world.


Her tenacious faith, undoubtedly, made the impossible possible in her life.


Of the many verses describing her beauty, character, and the twists and turns in her story, Hebrews 11:11 is my favorite.

 

“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised." Hebrews 11:11

 

Sara at the entrance to the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center Philadelphia
Faith and Liberty Discovery Center, Philadelphia

While I aspire to her caliber of faith, I'll readily admit that I struggle to believe many promises of God, simply because they are so good!


I once used to declare "Only dead artists make it into a museum!"  


I've since learned to keep my mouth shut, instead of slamming the door to possibilities with my foolish words and lack of faith! God is merciful. I'm still alive and He blessed me with yet another instance of His making the impossible possible. I pray that my account will encourage you also.


Abstract sculpture in polymer clay by Sara Joseph
Fruit of the Spirit "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." Galatians 5:22

In 2020, the American Bible Society selected my polymer clay relief sculpture, Fruit of the Spirit, created on an ordinary day in the studio, for an exhibit in a museum in Philadelphia. I'm a Texas artist.


The museum featured content that is extremely meaningful to me—precious evidences of the Christian faith shaping the quest for liberty at the birth of this nation, and its establishment upon those eternal foundations.


Faith and Liberty Discovery Center, dedicated to exploring the Judaeo Christian heritage of America, opened on May 1, 2021.


Located on what many consider to be America’s most historic mile in Philadelphia, on Independence Mall, it's just a short walk from the Liberty Bell!

 

Entry sculpture of Faith & Liberty Discovery Center in Philadelphia
Faith & Liberty Museum Entry

The emphasis of the Museum was the impact of the Bible on the men and women who built United States, from the Founders, through abolitionists and suffragists, civil rights activists, and continuing to contemporary voices.


"In 2021, Local Projects and the FLDC were named for exhibition design of the year in the Dezeen Awards 2021 public vote.[7] Architectural design was led by the Philadelphia principals of JacobsWyper Architects' SaylorGregg Studio." —Wikipedia


As a grateful immigrant, who benefited from America’s Christian heritage, being included in this exhibit was a privilege—an impossible event that I did not seek out!

God orchestrated it, interrupting my ordinary life with this undeserved honor.


Interior image of the central lighted pillar of the Faith & Liberty Museum in Philadelphia
Interior of the Faith & Liberty Discovery Center

My artwork was initially on loan, but after 3 years it was acquired by the Museum. I was fortunate to visit just before it closed on March 2024. Although I do not know where my art will journey next, I am grateful to God for the years that it was part of this historic exhibit.


Abstract sculpture displayed at the museum.
Display at the Museum, Exodus 35:35

While the buzz of creative activity is energizing, most moments in an artist's life are not this exciting. Usually we are navigating some dry spell of uncertainty.


I find biblical Sara's account to be a continual source of encouragement, when nothing thrilling seems to be happening and all I have are wonderful promises from God.


Sara's challenge was impossible, birthing a child in her old age, because God promised. Yet her response of faith is attainable, and her outcome more than worth the struggle!


That she was well "past age" is an understatement—she was impossibly old! Her youthful body had lost its vigor, too much time had passed.

Time, which could never be recovered—or so she thought.


As an artist, I’ve felt the familiar urgency of the ticking clock. Years that could have been poured into art without distraction were spent raising a family—wonderful years that I do not regret. But they are now out of reach, behind me in the timeline of life. I live with the pressing sense that time is limited and possibilities appear to be narrowing. That urgency within keeps me availing of every moment assigned to me.


However, time is NOT a non-renewable resource with the Lord! He has amazing ways of redeeming everything turned over to Him, even time. He makes the impossible possible. Wait, have I already said that?


When I was a young mother creating art in the smallest pockets of hard won time, I never dreamed that some day God would bless the work of my hands in a manner that was meaningful to me. He has since that done that more times that I can track!


Gradually Biblical truth reordered my priorities, and expanded my expectations. As God’s gift of creating artwork unfolds in my life, I am continually treated to unexpected, delightful blessings.


His word encourages me to dream bigger, but differently. While I no longer crave human acclaim, I expect affirmation from God, which is priceless to me! I do not work for financial success by any worldly standard. There's no need to. I can live in abundance, if I turn to Him as my unfailing Source in seasons of perceived lack. That is liberty!


Listening for His (inaudible) voice, and attempting to obey to the best of my ability, is now my narrow, but effective focus. As a result, adventures with Him have been thrilling, varied, and completely unexpected!


I pray that artists, who long to create meaningful work, but feel stretched thin, trapped by the responsibilities of life, can find hope in my story, and even more so, from that of biblical Sara.


Interior image of the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." Romans 15:4

The kingdom of God operates on the principle of the parable of the sower.


A single promise from God is potent seed, sufficient to birth the impossible.


The Bible is full of such promises inviting faith in a personal God, who is willing to engage in sweet fellowship.

The power of seeds is disguised, seemingly insignificant—just like His amazing promises. Yet, when planted in the human heart and nurtured by faith they will birth the impossible.


In biblical Sara’s case, it was a baby at ninety!


 

Seeds, like promises, operate on mysterious, unpredictable timelines. Germination will eventually be visible—yet we can never be certain when that will be. Harvest, or fulfillment, happens on God’s timeline, not ours.


When nothing is visible, trust in God must be maintained until the first tender sprout appears, even if seems to be discouragingly small. Then later, when there's lush growth, but no fruit, we must still wait expectantly. One day, if nurtured, seeds will produce fruit.


Fruitfulness is God’s idea and His intent for every promise in the Bible.


Judging God to be faithful, like Sara, is a rewarding, yet often challenging, aspect of being a Christian. We are so easily discouraged. Persevering brings about far more than just the fulfillment of the promise.

Interior of the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center
Interior, Faith and Liberty Discovery Center

Isaac was a blessing, no doubt.

But the greater reward was that God had chosen Sara to demonstrate this rigorous and refining process of faith for all time!


Whenever she heard Isaac laugh or watched him toddle, her thoughts would've turned heavenward in awe of the God who promised and was faithful! Every memory of her struggle to believe must have been revisited often. Her sense of relief must have been great for every choice to trust Him through lengthy seasons of emptiness, with only promises to sustain her!


When she eventually faced her last great test—the threat to the future of her beloved son, she had become a giant of faith, earning her a hallowed place in the "Hall of Faith", Hebrews 11. Releasing Isaac to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah would have been a little easier. She remained secure in God's assurance that nations would somehow spring from Isaac someday. That destiny HAD to find fulfillment. God would not fail.


But what has this to do with art?


Entrusting our feeble attempts at creativity to God is an act of faith. He promises to bless the work of our hands (Deuteronomy 28:8) and declares that His gifts and calling are irrevocable.


Surely, like Biblical Sara we can also “judge Him faithful who promised.” May my unlikely account of having the work of my hands in a museum (when I did not seek it out) also encourage you.


This is merely another colorful event in my journey, no more or less important than having my art minister hope to someone hungry for God within prison walls.

None of it was my doing, which makes the journey both humbling and exciting!


May you be encouraged to embark on adventures of your own with Jesus, to enjoy outcomes only He could orchestrate.


Comentários


bottom of page