“Elisha prayed and said, ‘O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:17 NASB
It was a time of horrible violence. America’s civil war had resulted in a countryside coated in blood. Yet, at a time when some saw only this warfare, Thomas Moran looked at the world and saw God’s unstained handiwork.
Born in the United Kingdom on this day in 1837, he had come to America in 1844 when his father moved the family near Philadelphia, hoping for a new start. In his youth, Moran developed into an outstanding artist, often finding inspiration in the American landscape.
In 1864, he painted one of his masterpieces, “Autumn Afternoon, The Wissahickon” (a stream near Philadelphia), a painting now displayed in the Art Institute of Chicago.
Not far from the Wissahickon, just a year earlier, thousands had died in the Battle of Gettysburg. But Moran, like many others, longed for the war to end, when people on both sides could renew their focus on God and His creation.
In shaping this painting, others may have focused on war, but Moran saw a peaceful stream. Not soldiers or cannons. Not horses being ridden into combat but cows calmly drinking from still waters. In the distance, Moran depicted evidence of industrialization, but the overwhelming imagery is the tranquility of God’s creation, against a backdrop of the brilliant colors of autumn leaves.
Moran’s artistic vision reminds us that each of us sees life in unique ways. But the Bible reveals that God has the most important perspective and why we need His wisdom. Like Elisha, concerned about his servant, we need to pray that God would open our eyes.
Today, ask Him to open your eyes. To reveal more of His vision for you, and the world.
PrayerFather, open my eyes that I might see the world through Your eyes. Show me what is important. Give me Your perspective. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Extended Reading2 Kings 6