In Hebrews 11:3 the Carpenter tells me:
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is SEEN was not made out of what was VISIBLE.
Sunlight placed a warm ray under my chin, directing my attention out my bedroom window. My eyes landed on a maple tree, sun beams slicing through branches. Spell-binding fall colors of gold, green, burgundy. Entranced, I stepped outside, stood beneath it.
My maple is real, the bark rough beneath my hand. To think Eden’s first trees were created by mere spoken word. By the Word, the Owner of Heaven’s Hardware Store.
Seen through unspiritual eyes the shelves in this place might appear empty. But don’t be fooled. They are well stocked. Sagging even. It’s just that the building materials are often invisible, intangible things:
~ God’s word, sharper than a two edged sword.
~ Circumstances He engineers to chisel the self out of me.
~ His holy hammer to shape me more into His image.
~ His furnace set to intense heat whereby He removes the dross from the silver so that I am useful for service (Proverbs 25:4).
Recent conversation with a young man in a rehab facility got me thinking. He’d been enticed to join a few other residents to steal away and get drunk. He chose wisely and refused their invitation. Curious, I asked him, “On a scale of 1 to 10 how hard was it for you to say ‘no’?”
“Not hard at all.”
I eased my shoulders, grinned. “I imagine those 48 days incarceration you endured came to mind?”
My chest tightened as my breath caught in my lungs. Heavens! What then? Naturally, I supposed it was the power of the visible that restrained him in temptation…that ghastly orange jumpsuit, the timed, recorded phone calls through glass at visitation, stolen paperback copies of his treasured Harry Potter novels, no pillow, the gnawing hunger due to substandard meals. And downright bad company (“Sharing a cell with a guy who has Turett’s and is in for his third homocide is not cool,” he lamented.)
I narrowed my brow, pressed the phone to my ear, listened to his reasoning.
“I mean jail sucked and everything, but it’s just that I have a different perspective. The things I value have changed.
The young man’s decision was the power of the work of the invisible Master Carpenter chiseling, taking a hammer to his heart.
I find that as I labor in prayer for others the Carpenter builds with His invisible tools. Only He can create something out of nothing. Like my maple tree whose ancestral seed He spoke into existence.
Admittedly I howl at times when progress in others seems S-L-O-W. Until the owner of Heaven’s Hardware Store reminds me, yet again, to consider the ‘Under Construction’ sign on my own heart. Ah, yes, that.
I yield as He takes hold of His hammer and chisel and gets to work.
For His glory and always for my good.