Text Box: “Christmas Vacation Stillness”

Production Year:  2004
Suggested Donation:  $65 (100% of your investment will be used for ministry).
Recipients will be given a specifically numbered print of a limited edition of only 200 Prints that are personally signed and numbered by the artist.  In addition, recipients will receive a signed “Certificate of Authenticity” that includes the following information from the artist:
      The subject of this painting is of the old Grass Valley High School, which before its demolition was located on Empire Street in Grass Valley, CA.  The scene depicts how the school would have looked during a Christmas recess in the early 1940’s.  In contrast to the usual hustle and bustle of students in its hallways and playfields, the massive redbrick school building now rests in tranquil stillness following a heavy winter day’s snowfall.    
      I was inspired to paint this historic landmark building while meditating on the words of Mark from his Biblical account in Chapter 4, verses 35-41, where he describes how the Lord Jesus calmed a turbulent storm, particularly verse 39 which states,
“He (Christ) rebuked the wind and said to the sea. ‘Hush, be still,’ and the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.”
      This story is full of vivid details.  We can almost see the terrified disciples as the furious storm suddenly breaks forth from black thunderclouds in cyclonic gusts, with floods of rain.  According to Aristotle, it is a “whirlwind revolving from below upwards.”  Some historians suggest that the storm fell suddenly from Mount Hermon down into the Jordan Valley, and then hit the Sea of Galilee violently at its depth of 682 feet below the Mediterranean Sea.  The hot air at this depth drew the storm down with sudden irresistible power.  Luke says, “there came down a storm on the lake.” Matthew describes it as a susmos, a violent upheaval like an earthquake.  These sudden storms continue to this day.
As the waves were thrashing and throwing themselves into the boat, Jesus rebuked the wind and storm, and they obeyed his word of command, “Hush, be still.”  Calm, peaceful silence immediately replaced the raging violence.  None but the Creator himself could have done this.  In the Old Testament scriptures, God alone is the only one who has supreme power over nature.  The disciples only half grasped Christ’s demonstrated proof of divine power and they were too terrified to express it.  Jesus reproved his disciples for their lack of trust in him.  They had much yet to grow in their comprehension of our Lord Jesus Christ. This incident began to open their eyes and minds to the majesty of Jesus.
We must also learn to trust Him fully, even if our obedience to him leads us into storms of life’s difficult circumstances. (Note that it was Jesus, not the disciples who had suggested crossing the lake; they were not out of his will.)  Sometimes we assume that storms show disobedience, but this is not always so.  The disciples on this occasion had little faith, so the calming (or not) of a storm does not seem to depend on faith, but on God’s will.  Sometimes God saves us from trouble; sometimes he saves us in trouble; sometimes he saves us from death; and sometimes he uses our death to glorify his name.
       I have heard it said, “With Christ in the vessel, you can smile at the storm -- if your faith is in Him and Him alone.”  I hope you enjoy this print.  It is my prayer that all who look upon this scene will come to know and trust our Lord Jesus Christ more fully as they experience joy in walking closely with Him.
       Sincerely yours in our Lord Jesus Christ, who offers to all the free gift of Eternal Life,
  
Nick Vogt 
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