Lately I’ve been working on some small wooden scroll-saw projects for Christmas gifts.  It’s a time consuming process, depending on how much detail is involved in the pattern.  Usually, I trace the design onto the wood using carbon paper.  Then small holes have to be drilled in all the places that have to be cut out.  In each of those tiny openings, a thin sawblade is inserted and the required cuts are carefully made.  The saw is shut off, the blade removed and then reinserted into the next hole.  Obviously, the more intricate the pattern, the more openings are drilled and much more time and precision cutting is necessary.  Once this is complete, there is usually some sanding to be done, and then paint, stain and/or sealer needs to be applied.  It’s so rewarding to see the final product, especially knowing how much detailed work it took to create it!!

So, from a simple piece of wood, a beautiful, sometimes ornate, piece of art emerges.  It takes time, an exact pattern, precise removal of unwanted material, and a practiced hand to control the saw as well as the wood.  As I went through this process last week, the thought occurred to me how similar it is to how God works in our lives.  He has a unique pattern for each of us, and as we go through different trials, challenges or seasons of great difficulty or heartache, He is working on us - patiently and precisely “cutting away” the parts that need to be removed to ultimately reveal His beautiful creation - His amazing masterpiece.  And, just as the designs I make have to be carefully cut from the inside out, so there is enough stability to prevent the fragile sections from breaking, God patiently works on us from the inside, changing us and discarding all the “excess” that has to go to enable His amazing workmanship to be displayed. 

Isolated, each small cut in the wood doesn’t produce anything of beauty, and it can even be hard to see how it will eventually create the desired result.  In the same way, we certainly can’t see how God is fashioning something beautiful out of the sharp edges of life.  But He DOES know exactly what He is doing and has a purpose for everything He allows to come our way.  He gives us “beauty for ashes” and His grace is always there to carry and sustain us.  All through our lives, the Master Carpenter has us in His workshop, crafting His perfect, original and magnificent design.  Our challenge is to trust that His loving, nail – scarred hands are in supreme control and believe He has a plan for it all.  Especially when the cuts go deep and we cannot understand or see.  Praying for you as you journey through the workshop.

Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 4:8,9,16-18

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