I recently watched a wonderful film that a few friends had a hand in bringing to the silver screen. The film was well-executed, and the story was well-told, and movies with both of those elements have become way too uncommon. The premise and the plot of this particular film were so good, in fact, it all made me a bit envious. I walked out of the theater smacking myself on the forehead and wondering, Wow, why didn’t I think of that idea?
Sometimes we miss the best creative ideas, even the ones that are sitting right in front of us, waiting to be discovered, because we don’t have the eyes to see them for what they are. I suppose that is what artistic vision is all about, isn’t it? It’s the ability to see an idea with the eyes of perception and recognition.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible, and one which I think is particularly insightful for us as artists, is Isaiah 43:18-21, and especially verse 19, in which God speaks to His people:
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
This declaration says a couple of things to me. First, God is still creating, and He is still doing new things. He didn’t just stop being creative after six days of massive inspiration. He never gets stuck in a creative formula or rut, creating in one particular way just because that is the way it has always been done. He persists in His creative endeavors today.
Second, implicit in that verse is the warning that if we’re not careful, we run the risk of not seeing and perceiving the creative things that God is doing. That is a pretty somber thought that should keep us artists on our toes, since the source of true creative inspiration starts first and foremost in and because of Him. Take note: God is the Prime Mover of creative inspiration. It starts with and flows from Him, and we want to make sure that we maintain the perception to recognize it when it springs up in front of us.
As artists, we can often find ourselves in a creative wasteland, those times when the ideas are not flowing as readily as we would like or need. But the ideas are still there; we just need the eyes to see them.
When I find myself in creative deserts like that, I take great heart in the fact that God makes streams in the wasteland. Of particular value is Jeremiah 33:3, one of the greatest promises found in the Bible for us as artists and as people:
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.
This is a pretty amazing promise that we don’t tap into often enough. It is an invitation to join God in His wonderful creativity. If we will take the time and effort to call on God, He will open our eyes to the new things He is doing.
Feeling like you’ve lost your creative vision somewhere in the artistic desert? Wondering if your ability to see and recognize those new ideas is forever gone? God’s promise is that He will open your eyes... if you’ll just call on Him.