Friday, February 5, 2016

The Least of These

Copyright © Edward Riojas

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Psalm 116: 15

This painting is for those who have ever lost one; for those who are plagued by memories; for those who rest securely in the hands of the Savior...

A few days ago I posted a photo of a painting, then unfinished, along with the words above. It was posted on the anniversary of the decision regarding Roe vs. Wade.

Actually, my posting was an afterthought. I originally intended to post the image on the previous Sunday – Sanctity of Life Sunday – but had gotten sidetracked by the usual mundane things of life. A few days later I saw a growing pile of photos coming from the Life March in Washington D.C., along with other posts surrounding the same subject. So I posted a photo of a “very raw” painting, and had to explain the words that would appear on the painting’s banner. It struck home.
“Precious in the Sight of the Lord”
Copyright © Edward Riojas 2016.
Use of image strictly forbidden
without consent of artist.

Eventually the image was shared 85 times for an audience of nearly 15,000 viewers. The comments alone underscored the fact that I was, indeed, touching a very soft spot in the hearts of viewers. So several days later, here is the finished piece. I don’t need to explain the intent of the painting, nor do I need to describe how it may relate to your life. You know who you are; you know your brand of pain; you know the reality of it all more intimately than I could ever possibly know.

But there is something more.

As I was finishing the piece, I broke down in tears. I’ve never known the heartbreak of a stillbirth in my immediate family, and I’ve not been plagued by memories of an abortion, but the tears came just the same. This curmudgeon certainly empathizes with the “least of these,” yet my tears were not shed for them alone – I simply saw myself in that helpless child of God.

Whether because of losing a job – as I recently experienced – or because of a bleak prognosis, or because of clinging to the end of the rope, life sometimes sends us a different kind of death. Maybe you have felt this. Suddenly, the cares of this life matter so very little, because they have proven petty and useless and utterly insignificant. It is strange that we rarely think of climbing into the Savior’s pierced hands when times are peachy and when every marshmallow sky has glittery rays of sunshine. But we surely want to climb into His hands when the worst of days come. We want to cling to him. We want to hold His hand. In reality, it is He who tenderly takes us by the hand; it is He who cradles us in the hollow of His hands. This He always has done and still does, for the greatest among us to the very least.

To purchase a print
Archival-quality, signed, giclee prints of “Precious in the Sight of the Lord” are available for purchase by contacting the artist at
Sizes/prices for prints:
13” x 16” / $75
19.5” x 24” / $120

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