Emerging From the Wood

I’ve been watching Britain’s Best Woodworker on television recently. Amateur woodworking enthusiasts compete in various challenges to create everything from furniture to dolls houses.

This week’s challenge to create an animal sculpture, saw three of the five contestants work with an individual trunk from an oak tree, complete with bark.

While two had sketches to work from and mainly used chisels to achieve the precise shape they designed, the third contestant attacked his tree trunk with a chainsaw, using its power to cut away excess wood and shape his creation.

The oak proved much harder than any of the contestants had expected and all were completely exhausted by the physical challenges of spending two eight- hour periods standing, kneeling, chipping away, cleaning up the wood chippings and, in the case of the man using the chainsaw, replacing broken belts and regularly cleaning its teeth of wood debris.

At times, each of them was discouraged as they struggled to achieve their vision for their sculpture.

It was fascinating watching as each of their animals: a Boxer dog, a lion and a giant snail ‘emerged’ from their giant tree trunks and took on their own personality, each reflecting in some way the personality of its sculptor.

At the end of the allotted time, some of the sculptures were finished to a high standard while others needed more time for refinement.

It made me think of God’s sculpting of each of us. We may see ourselves as unpromising material and we often prove to be very resistant to being reshaped, but we’re each being turned into the beautiful person He always intended us to be.

He never gets discouraged or tired and is expert at inspiring both the large-scale (chainsaw type) modifications and the much finer (chisel type) ‘tweaks’ needed to fashion us as He intended so we can reflect the personality of Him as our creator.  

For our part, we need to have the faith to step out of the tree trunk, brush away the shavings and totally inhabit our God-given form and personality.

I have a beautiful card on my desk with a photo of the sun shining through tree trunks. Each trunk is a different size and shape; a totally unique part of the world. The sun is shining on and blessing them all; there’s a sense of dawn and expectancy, what will emerge?

Who is emerging as you are being sculpted?

Marilyn Baker’s beautiful song, ‘Jesus You are Changing Me’, which I’ve discovered recently, is on a similar theme, using the images of a potter shaping clay. Enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64OBMT2mrKU

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