Tag: Romans 8:28

A Vision of Purpose

But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand (Isaiah 64:8).

Artists and sculptors have a special ability to visualize their completed work.

The story is told of the great American artist James Whisler that he once went to the boat docks expecting a shipment of canvas for his paintings, but they weren’t there. That upset him, and someone asked him, “Were the canvases of any great value?” He replied, “Not yet!”

800px-Mt_RushmoreGutzon Borglum was able to visualize the presidential figureheads on Mt. Rushmore even before the project was begun. Even though Borglum was a great sculptor, his workers encountered problems while carving the Jefferson head. They originally started carving Jefferson’s head to the right of Washington’s but discovered that stone was not strong enough to support the sculpture. A new site for Jefferson’s head was found after removing a lot of stone to Washington’s left. The old Jefferson head was blasted away.

Every stroke of the brush and every strike of the chisel has a purpose – a purpose only the artist or sculptor can visualize.

God sees you like that. He sees your potential. If you give your life completely to God, you’ll be astonished at what He will do with it.

God cannot only visualize the possibilities contained within our lives, but unlike human artists and sculptors, He even created the very material He is working with. From the dust of the ground and from the ribcage of a man, He made man and woman. Perfect in our creation, but then marred by our own sin, in order to complete the work He had begun it was necessary for our old sinful self to die (somewhat like the blasting away of the original Jefferson head), so that His perfect work could be completed in us.

1024px-Dolceacqua43_-_Artista_locale_mentre_dipinge_un_acquarelloThere is value in a canvas to the artist because of what he is planning on doing with it. There is value in our lives because of what God can and will do with us. Unlike a blank canvas or hunk of clay, however, God wants our participation in His work. We are not simply a canvas to be used, but a life designed to bring Him glory.

He is the potter and has the vision for whatever His purpose is for us. Although we cannot visualize all He has planned, He can. Our part is to let Him work.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28).

Sweaters, Sandals and Seasons

Traveling from France to Cape Town, South Africa, I encountered a surprise in weather. I checked the weather report before I left France. Both locations had similar predictions. Even though France was going from spring to summer and South Africa’s fall was changing into winter, I erroneously thought that 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit was going to feel the same in both places. I was wrong.

What I didn’t take into account were winds from an icy Atlantic and the start of the rainy season in South Africa. The lodging where I stayed had no heat. None. There was a fireplace, but even in use, it was basically ornamental. All the heat went up the chimney.

My heavy suitcase was full of summer clothes. At least they were still clean when I returned to France. You would think that with all the travel I do, I would know better. Just before I left France, I observed many people wandering about in sweaters and jackets, but eager for the warmer weather, I suppose, they had changed their winter boots for summer sandals.

I found myself in that same situation. With one exception, I only brought sandals to South Africa, but I found myself layering all those summer clothes and wearing the two jackets I brought every day – whether or not they matched my clothing!

Life is full of seasons. Sometimes we are prepared for the next one. In moving from youth to adulthood, or high school to college, we spent years anticipating and preparing for that season in our lives. From being single to married, from living with parents to being on our own, we plan for that season. Other times we are caught by surprise. Parenthood sometimes comes without a definite plan; becoming grandparents especially so. Each season has its’ own challenges and joys.

Job, a man who trusted God and was blessed by Him, was taken by surprise when he experienced the hardest season of his life. During the trials and heartache of that season, he longed for the days of his prime. Through it all, God was watching and allowing Job to be tested. In the end, Job passed the test. Even in his most despondent days, he did not sin against God in what he said about Him. Even when he wondered if God had deserted him, he was determined to trust the God he had known in the past seasons of life. God richly rewarded him, not only restoring family and riches, but gave Job a new level of understanding of who He is. Whereas Job had heard of God before, he said, now my eye sees You.

For those of us who long to know God better, when an unexpected season presents itself, we can learn lessons from Job’s experience. God has not vacated the premises. He still cares. He is still in control. He wants to bring us into a new level of relationship with Him. Through times of confusion, be encouraged that He has a purpose for anything He allows in our lives.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).