“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted.” Tony Evans
It never ceases to amaze me: The sunrise. I sit on the back patio, my feet propped on a lawn chair, facing east. The sky is gray, the scattered clouds a steel-gray smudge. In the early morning pre-dawn, the colors around me blur. The birds sing their early morning songs: “Wake up, wake up, it’s a beautiful day.”
As I sit quietly and watch, the light slowly changes; the gray sky turns to a pale blue, streaked in varying shades of pink, red, orange and gold. The sun slowly reveals itself, casting light and clarity on the world. When I take my eyes off the brightening sky and look around, I distinguish the dark green of the summer grass, and the pinks, reds, and greens of the flowers and other plants around the patio. The higher the early morning sun rises, the more clearly I can focus on the world around me.
This is how my Savior reveals Himself. With the first light of dawn I begin to see His revealed truth. He gives me understanding and willingness to accept Him as personal Lord and Savior. Gradually, He reveals more of Himself in ever varying ways, brilliantly colored and multi-faceted. The more I read and study His word, reflect on His glory, and listen to the wise words of ministers and other Christians, the more He reveals His light. As He is revealed, the true colors of the spiritual world around me are revealed. I see more and more clearly; I understand more and more of His truth. His light enables me to clearly see the pathway on which I must walk; I am no longer in spiritual darkness. My spiritual world, which once was obscured in darkness, has become clearer in the light of His love. Often these spiritual changes are gradual, just as the sunlight gradually bathes the world in its light. How many times have I become so accustomed to the presence of the light that I forget what it was like to live in my pre-dawn spiritual world? Just as I occasionally take the time to watch the sunrise, so I also must take time to observe the light of God’s spirit in my life. If I am perceptive, I can distinguish the change. If I allow His light to live in me, I will experience His Son rise in my life.
Father, Your sunrise is a glorious wonder to behold. Even more glorious is the effect of Your Son rise in our lives. Thank you for the sunlight that enables us to see the beauty of the world around us. Thank you for the light of Your Son in our lives, lighting our spiritual paths and enabling us to see a glimpse of Your glory. Thank You that one day we will be able to see You face to face.
“How cool is it that the same God who created mountains and oceans and galaxies looked at you and thought the world needed one of you, too.”
Psalms 139:13 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
One pastime from which I derive much pleasure is making things with my hands. To take a piece of yarn and make an afghan is very satisfying. It is amazing that a flat piece of fabric becomes a dress, or colored thread makes a beautiful picture. After I finish making something, I take great pride in it; it is something I carefully, lovingly made with my own hands. Perhaps you, too, know the satisfying feeling that comes from creating something beautiful.
God must feel that way about making all of us. What a beautiful thought! God, a master craftsman (Jesus was, after all, a carpenter) has knit me, has made me. From dust. From bits of nothing, He created something, a human being; He created me; He created you.
“My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:15, 16). Just as I can look at a skein of yarn and “see” the finished afghan, so God could see me before my body was formed. Just as I know every stitch that went into an afghan or an article of clothing, God knows everything about me and has known it since before I was born. And notice, unlike my sometimes-feeble attempts at craftsmanship, the Psalmist’s words say that I was “skillfully wrought.” Made sloppily? No. Made imperfectly? No. Made “skillfully.” Like me, is God proud of his craftsmanship? I think so. God made me and made you “skillfully,” so we should be pleased and proud of ourselves; each of us is special and each of us is made exactly the way God wanted us to be. How often we complain about ourselves: I wish I looked like this person, or had his talents or her wisdom. When we question the way we look, the way we think, or the talents we have, we are questioning God. When we criticize ourselves, we are sinning against God, our creator. We are saying that His handiwork is not good. Does that mean I’m perfect? Of course not. It means I am made exactly the way God intended me to be.
Knowing I have been made exactly the way God wanted me fills me with love and humility. It gives me confidence that I would otherwise lack. It also gives me a sense of great responsibility. God gave me a certain personality and certain gifts for a reason. As a child of His, it is my responsibility to recognize and appreciate the abilities He has created in me; it is my responsibility to dedicate my gifts to God and to use these God-given gifts to glorify my maker.
Oh God, creator of the universe, forgive me when I criticize your handiwork. Help me to have confidence in who I am, not out of boastfulness, but because I know you lovingly made me as you wanted me and you are pleased with your work.
“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” Brad Paisley
Have you ever watched the potter at work? He centers a lump of clay on the wheel, creates a small indention in the middle, then pours water over the clay. As the wheel spins, his hands deftly shape the clay until he has created his pot in the exact shape he wants.
In scripture God is compared to a potter. Can you see Him at work, creating with clay, molding and shaping each vessel until it is the perfect shape and size? Each of us is carefully, lovingly, uniquely formed by our Lord’s hands.
Unfortunately, in our human perceptions, we view ourselves, the vessels He is shaping, and wish we were different. “Perhaps a different shape or size would be better,” we think, or we wish to use this pot for a different purpose. We constantly resist His hands, molding us to His will. But God, in His wisdom, knows what He is doing, and our wishes to change illustrate how we doubt His wisdom. Still, we constantly try to “correct” what God has made.
At times we look at others, too, and wish to change them. “If this pot were just a little wider,” we mistakenly think, “it could be used for a different purpose. If this pot had a slightly different shape, it would be beautiful.” And we try to change that vessel into the image we have for it. When we do that, we doubt God’s wisdom; we doubt His handiwork. The clay never dictates to the potter what shape it should be; neither does it tell the potter how to shape other pots.
God created the world in seven days, yet He constantly refines and perfects each of us. Can you see Him at His wheel? He pauses a moment at His work, steps back, looks, and says, “It is good.”
Father, make me aware of your hand in my life, shaping and molding me into your image. Help me to yield to Your hand and to Your judgment of the size, shape, and purpose for me and for each of Your precious vessels.
Isaiah 64:8: (NKJ): “Yet, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, You are the potter we are all the work of are Your hand
“I believe that appreciation is a holy thing–that when we look for what’s best in a person we happen to be with at the moment–we’re doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbors, we’re participating in something sacred.” Fred Rogers