Carved Beautifully by the Master from the Ugly

I spent two weeks visiting SFC leaders, ministry partners and mentors in Australia and New Zealand in September. For two days I spent time with a personal mentor and Christian Surfers International Director, Brett Davis. Brett is one of my favorite quirky friends. He rips on a surfboard, loves Jesus as much as anyone I know and also builds treehouses and works on a wood lathe in his free time. He gave me some instruction and helped me make a bowl as a gift for my wife. The process of chunking away at a big ugly piece of wood and turning it into something beautiful taught me a lot about myself and how God creates us into the beings that He wants us to be.

On my way to see Brett, I missed a flight due to miscommunication. My friend and his family took me to the wrong airport, and I had to pay several hundred dollars for a new flight, but in the process, we laughed and did everything we could to make the best of an unexpected situation. IT WAS GREAT, and God began revealing something to me that day about how He uses situations like this to test us and carve things out of us that do NOT glorify Him.

After leaving Brett’s house, I headed inland 9 hours on a series of buses, trains and roadtrips to visit our Aussie leader Jess. We arrived at 3pm in the rain and against everyone’s emotional states, we decided to just go snowboarding anyway. We had backed up liftlines and less than perfect conditions, but we had a blast. We intentionally challenged each other to think of our uncomfortable situations as God’s testing grounds for us. Afterall, Peter says our trials are a “testing by fire”. Paul tells the Corinthians that we are “being transformed into God’s image with ever-increasing glory”.

What a privilege to have the Lord continue to reveal that He sees a beautiful thing within the ugly, clumsy, lumbering piece of wood that I know to be my sinful humanity. He is the Master and is continually creating us all into the purposeful vessels that He has planned for us to become. Now, the plan is to just recognize that more often. As the old hymn says:

Have your own way, Lord! Have your own way!
You are the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after your will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.

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