Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Shelley Schurch
Sunday, March 31, 2024

I have always enjoyed meandering through art shows, but only one has lingered long in my mind. It was a springtime student art show at my college, displaying the best of the art students’ work in a variety of media.

One painting caught, and kept, my attention. Its title was “Christ in His Agony.” I went back again and again and again to visit it, to stand in front of it and gaze at it. Christ gazed back at me.

Even though I was on a tight student budget, I finally decided to negotiate with its artist, Sid Kuester, and I bought it.

I took the painting back to my dorm room and hung it in a corner of the room, beside the window. It faced our door, so it was the first thing you saw when you entered the room.

One night Ann, our night monitor, while making her rounds to make sure we were all present and accounted for, asked about the painting. I told her how I had been captivated by it at the art show, and that it meant a lot to me because it was when I read about Jesus’ agonizing struggle in Gethsemane that I realized, deep down, how much He suffered, all for love of us – of me. My heart was broken, for the first time, when I saw His heart, poured out for us – for me.

After Ann told us good night and continued on her way, my roommate quietly said, “I’m glad you told her that story. I didn’t want to tell you before, but I haven’t liked that painting. But now I understand why you like it, and that changes it for me!”

Talkative person though I am, I apparently hung this painting in our shared room without sharing its significance for me! (That tells you something about my roommate’s patient and kind personality.)

This painting has stayed close beside me through the years, and traveled many miles with me, just as Jesus has so faithfully stayed beside me. When I look at “Christ in His Agony,” His eyes seem to be searching my face, asking if I realize that He literally loved me to death. The answer is Yes. The answer is Thank You. The answer is, I’m longing for the Day when I can thank You face to Face.