“Pavel, I can’t say thank You enough, You have truly changed my life…”
I get emails like this quite often. I’d like to clarify who’s behind all this. You see, I’m a product. Everything you see in me, everything that I am - is a product.
Thanking me would be like speaking to an Artist with the words :
“What a great Paintbrush you’ve got there! It is pure gold, look at the paintings it produces. We really need more such Paintbrushes in this world!”
Surely, the Artist would just laugh at your ignorance and say, “Haha, you really think this paintbrush has anything to do with the artwork? Give me a charcoal and I’ll show you what a skilled Master can produce!”
20 generations back, before the World Wars had a place in this world. Before the time of democracy, before the founding of the “Western World” - there was the time of Kings in Russia. The Romanov Dynasty reigned from 1613-1917, one of the biggest dynasties/empires to ever exist. This is just a glimpse of tracing back my heritage back to Noah, and then to Adam and Eve.
You see, God has planned it all. He has created this world, and has foreknown every day. He has shaped the consequences, allowed sins to take place and the devil to rule in the world - and yet, still, maintain His Gospel that it could reach me, a small boy, born into a family on the border between Russia and China. It is there that He put me into a family which I did not choose, a family which taught me the Truth. A family which loved Jesus and served others with an open heart.
I remember my parents always having open doors, welcoming strangers. Washing up drunkards and alcoholics, putting them back on their feet, helping them find a job. These drunkards would fail again, and the cycle would repeat. I can find my father speaking to people long into the morning hours, showing them a way out of depression and introducing to them a new Life, which is freely given - a life of freedom, joy, peace, fulfillment, and satisfaction. It is then that I saw what it means to help a stranger, or to serve those in need. It is there, in those surroundings, that I felt what true Love is.
And that was just the beginning. I was introduced to the world in public facilities - Russian “sadik”, which somewhat resembles western kindergarten - but is more comparable with daycare. There, actions and people were presented to me in a different light. I saw the evil in the world. Jesus used every circumstance to teach me life-long lessons. At age 6, the basics have been embedded within me. The basics of love, and the life of Jesus - embedded into me not only by words, but by example.
We moved, I entered school, then work. I met people, read books, explored the world, and was exposed to the evils found in the hearts of many. I didn’t know things like murder, rape, prostitution were so common. I thought the drunkards who came to our house was as bad as it gets - and they were just exceptions - but I learned otherwise.
Years passed, and the true love that Jesus had for me, begin to envelop me. It penetrated my whole being until I could live no more without Him. He is the One who brought me to this point. He has shaped me to who I am. He is doing all the things you see today. Him, in me, is all the good there is to me! He has been the transforming factor of my life, the point of absolute reference to everything else in the world. His universal principles define the particulars of my everyday life. It is His life in me, through the Holy Spirit, that has made me who I am. If it wasn’t for Him, I wouldn’t exist today.
I am just a paintbrush. And He is the real Painter, worthy of all worship, honor, glory, and power - forever...
Next time you have the desire to thank me, thank the One who truly deserves it - Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. I am the product of His work. I am His masterpiece.
He is my strength and my Fortress, my God, in whom I trust.