My husband Conway, at the age of 80+, spends his days happily in his workshop down the hill from our house. Some days I pack sandwiches in the house and have lunch with him in the workshop. I love to go there.
I’m always amazed when I look around at all the varieties of wood stored on the shelves. Most of it has been picked up off the ground as trunks and limbs of storm-ravaged trees near our home, or as cuttings from trees that the power company has cut. Sometimes friends offer pieces of wood from their properties. But other pieces were purchased after being cut down on another continent.
Just look at the mahogany, tightly-grained in shades of dark orange-brown. When Conway turns it to a useful form, sands it down, and applies a finish, you can turn it in the light, and it almost glows. Or look at the walnut wood, skillfully turned into a decorative bowl, sanded down, and finished. Its dark brown grain gives off a richness that is hard to beat.
Or that maple burl, one of my favorites. Wild-grained, rebellious, with no discipline to its growth, the bark still attached and intruding here and there on the wood—yet a thing of surpassing beauty, worthy of the highest price when the master shapes it and puts a finish on it. Who can help but admire God’s hand in its creation? And, by way of confession, I see it as a symbol of myself, who came to God as a burl. Maybe you, too. Just sayin’.
I marvel at God’s expansiveness in creating such a variety of woods, each with its own characteristics, but even more the variety of people He has created, each one different from the other. He designed us in such a way that we come into this world fresh and new, like a twig, then experience all kinds of weather in life—sunshine, rain, heat and cold, storms and high winds--but our true beauty doesn’t come out until He shapes us by His own hand, lovingly applies sandpaper to the rough edges, and polishes us up.
Lord God, help me be patient under the sandpaper. And let me be shaped and finished according to Your design.