‘For God so loved the world’
by Jennifer Cohron
Apr 24, 2011 | 2256 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rick Brand’s illustration of John 3:16 is not a typical depiction of Jesus on the cross.

Only the top of Jesus’ head and his outstretched arms are visible in the mural, which Brand painted in an upstairs meeting room at Walker County Outreach.

Rather than showing Jesus’ face, Brand focused on what he believes the Savior saw in his final moments — a fallen world that God loved so much that “He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

WCO program director Phillip Daniel started encouraging Brand’s artistic talent shortly after he entered the local supportive living program for recovering addicts.

Soon the walls of the facility were covered with larger-than-life illustrations of Bible verses.

“The pictures he (Daniel) had me painting started breaking down the old me and causing me to want to change even more. I decided to give God a shot,” Brand said.

When he came to Walker County Outreach, Brand had spent most of his 36 years allowing drugs to ruin his life.

He said that he was born and raised in Jasper by “the greatest grandparents you could have.”

After graduating from Trinity Christian Academy in 1993, Brand married his best friend. The two later divorced because of Brand’s drug use.

Brand joined the Marine Corps and came home after the birth of his second child.

Then he started doing drugs again.

“I finally gave up on life and started doing anything for money to support my habit,” Brand said.

Brand had to serve three years in prison for auto theft.

When he returned to Jasper, a friend agreed to let him do some painting in the back of his tire store.

Another friend suggested that he do some airbrushing, and Brand’s talent earned him a number of jobs.

“Naturally, the drugs killed it again and I got nowhere,” he said.

Brand then sought help at Walker County Outreach. He is currently recovering in an out-of-state, faith-based program.

He is still working on spiritual paintings and has plans to attend Bible college and art school one day.

This Easter, he is relying on God for the redemption and restoration that was offered on the cross so many years ago.

“There is no drug in the world that could ever get you higher and further than him. He lives,” Brand said.