The stories of our Father's children continue on through the pages of the Bible and the history of centuries past and future, but the serial comic strip called "Our Father's Children" is finished.
In April 2002 the Lord inspired me to begin this assignment, which He had given me the concept for three years earlier. It was exciting! And time-consuming, as I researched verbal and visual sources to accurately depict and bring the narrative to life.
My wife Sylvia became extremely ill, and in 2005 I put OFC on hold to devote all of my time to taking care of her. A few months after her passing in 2007, I resumed my work on OFC. And it helped me through my grief and loneliness. But it became daunting in 2009 as I imagined that my mission from God was to illustrate not only the spiritual warfare found in Bible history, but also the opposition of the moving of the Holy Spirit in the centuries that followed, right on up to the present time. I was already in my late seventies and still in the early chapters of Genesis! I began to wish that I didn't have to draw anymore.
On Sunday, February 15, 2009, I woke up feeling discouraged. As I prayed about it, the Lord told me to attend the services at Joy Outreach Fellowship. So I went. Pastors Judy and Richard Jennings have been my friends for years, but it had been several months since I had seen them.
After the music portion of the service, Richard took a portable microphone and walked across the front of the auditorium and turned up the aisle where I was sitting near the back. The Lord made me aware that he was coming to me.
When Richard arrived, I stood. He took my hand and said, "Bob, I love you, brother. When I shook your hand this morning, the Lord said for me to say to you, 'Stop the doing and begin the being in Me, says the Lord. Lay aside every weight that easily besets you and look unto Me, the author and finisher of your faith. I've called you forth in this hour to speak forth My truth in love. Receive My grace and enter into My peace, says the Lord. Bring forth My truth as a new born babe wrapped in My love and righteousness. Stop the doing and begin the being in Me, says the Lord.'"
Stop the doing?!! It seemed that the only thing I was doing was OFC. Did the Lord really want me to stop OFC??? Surely not.
After weeks of struggling with this, on April 19th I asked some others to pray for me and to ask the Lord if He would show me in some way that OFC is truly what He wants me working on, and that it is not just something I have decided to continue doing on my own. I had noticed that it was getting more and more difficult for me to do the drawings. I used to enjoy doing this work and looked forward to it. Now I dreaded it. And I wondered if I was really accomplishing any good.
The Lord inspired Rebecca to give me His answer to my question. She wrote: "Part of the word of the Lord to you was, 'Lay aside every weight that easily besets you and look unto Me, the author and finisher of your faith.' Then on down in your e-mail you said, 'If the Lord wants me to stop OFC, I will gladly do so, I will gladly relax and take it easy.' So here is my thought on this. God has been the author of OFC and He is now the finisher of OFC.
"Your faith and passion has been OFC. You allowed God to be the author. Now allow Him to be the finisher.
"When you said you would gladly stop OFC if the Lord wanted you to do so, and you would gladly relax and take it easy, it was as if I heard your heart talking. Listen to your heart."
I finished two more episodes and then I knew I was done, even though I had already written the script for ten additional strips. And I had peace.
Neither Rebecca nor I knew it at the time, but we would be married three months later. God has given both of us a new life.
And OFC continues to travel around the world in books, presentations, and on the internet reaching a new and expanding audience...
~ Bob West