A little over a year ago, I was invited to speak at a youth event in Clermont, FL. The message that the Lord placed on my heart for that event was based off of James 5:18, where it says: And he [Elijah] prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

After I finished preaching at the first service, my sister and I went back to the pastor’s office to get some water and get ready for the second service. As I am sitting there, sipping on my water, a lady and her daughter walked in. The lady was holding a painting in her hand. The painting was beautiful! It was a canvas that was painted over with a dark blue background, there were a bunch of white stripes scattered and drawn throughout, and at the top of the canvas, there were greyish circles (I promise you it’s more beautiful than I’m describing it).

She handed me the painting, and began to cry. She said: “Evangelist, I want you to have this painting. Some time ago, I painted this. My daughter and I were going through a tough time.” She began to share with me a little about what she was going through in that season of her life. My heart was shaken by what she was sharing. After a couple of minutes of her sharing what she had gone through, she said: “The dark blue background is the darkness around. The white stripes are raindrops. I painted this as a reminder that despite the season I was in, where things around me felt dry and I felt like God had closed the heaven, He was about to open up the heaven over us! I believe rain is coming for my family!”

I was at a loss for words. I was truly humbled that she gifted me this painting, but I was amazed by the story behind it! She had experienced unspeakable pain, horrible rejection, and overcome life-changing tragedies, however, she was happy despite what she had been through. She was painting despite the pain. She was thriving despite the tragedy. God had seen her through.

I do not know about you, but I’ve had a lot of “despite” moments in my life.  I am here today despite a health crisis. I continue to minister despite the obstacles. I continue to give despite the constraints. I continue to love despite the people who have hurt me.

I do not know what you are going through today, but I am sure you have many ‘despite’ moments in your life. You are standing despite…

I encourage you to keep on! Despite what you’re going through, keep painting! Despite what you’re facing, keep pushing! Despite the dry season in your ministry, keep ministering! Despite the pain you’re feeling, keep praising!

***The heavens are about to open***

– Evg. Jason Cárdenas