I’m carving a wooden fish. It started as a block of wood. But, as I looked at it, I could see a fish inside. All I needed to do was to remove all the wood that wasn’t fish. But this is a job that needs a lot of patience, perseverance, care and not a little skill. I had to make sure that I never lost sight of the ‘fish inside’. I had to use the right chisel for each bit of the fish.
Sometimes I could bash away merrily with my mallet, at other times I had to tap gently or even abandon the mallet altogether. I had to take care that I was working with the grain so that the wood wouldn’t crack or split. But, gradually, the fish began to emerge. It’s not finished yet, but it does begin to look like a fish. Each day, I clear up the mess of wood chippings on the floor. They come from good wood, for sure; but they aren’t part of the fish.
As I worked, God was showing me that He can see in me something (I suppose you could call it ‘the real me’) that's still hidden. It’s hidden by those things about me that He’s going to remove. It’ll need a lot of patience, perseverance, care and not a little skill. But then, my heavenly Father has all those things in abundance. What’s more, unlike me, He never makes mistakes. He’ll always work with the ‘grain’ in me – after all, it's He who made this block in the first place.
Is what He’s doing sometimes painful? Yes it is. But unless I allow Him to have His way, what He’s seen in me will never emerge. And sometimes He has to get rid of ‘good wood’ simply because it’s not part of the finished product. What would I rather have on my table? A rough block of wood? Or a beautiful fish? And I felt God saying to me, "What would you rather be? Rough and useless? Or my workmanship, reflecting something of me?"
As I look back, there have been many difficult, painful times. But they were part of the ‘carving’ process and I can say "thank You" to Him because He's used those times to do His creative work in my life.
Prayer: Father, thank You that I’m Your workmanship. I’m sorry for the times that I’ve complained about some of the things which have happened that I’ve found painful. Please help me to accept that even the hard, difficult times have their place in Your purpose for my life and that, through them You’re making me into the person You want me to be. Thank You for all You've done so far. Please go on shaping me into all that You want me to be. Amen.
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