the wood’s grain

crucifixSometimes in the fall, when the afternoon sunlight is just right you can see the grain of the wood in the body on the large crucifix over the altar at church. I marvel at how the grain matches the pattern of the muscles it fills; concentric shadows and layers repeat the shape. I wonder at how the wood feels about being used for such a precious form; conveying the love of God to those who look upon the image.

My modern mind mocks me for a minute; as if wood had feelings. Then I recall the psalm that reminds me that all creation praises God and shows forth the truth of him. Nature cannot help but convey God, for it has no free-will. It does what it was created to do.

I on the other hand struggle to know what I was created for.

My free-will gets in the way. The very gift of choice has the potential to prevent me from fulfilling all that God has intended me to become. I was created to be an image bearer; bearing his image to a lost and dying world. I want people to see the grain of my wood, the inner marks that are only visible when the surface is scratched, shaped or polished.

Lord, help me be open to your shaping so that when the light hits me just right others might see the concentric layers of what is inside me. Without you I am as shapeless as I am aimless, unbounded, out of control. Give me your shape. Mold me with a firm gentleness, so that I will know and others will see the very thing that gives me shape and animates me  – you.

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