The Carpenter has taken out the finest wood that is to become a table. Tables are of so much importance in that side of town. It is indespensable in times of celebration. It bears witness to people pouring their hearts out to others. In it, the hungry take their fill. It is where books lie when scholars begin to plot their would-be discoveries. The possibilities for the use of the unfinished table are essentially endless.
The apprentice came in a bit later. Excited about working with the best Carpenter in town and getting that table done to start serving its purpose, he headed towards the tool box and took out what he needed. The Carpenter, delighted to see how interested His student is, took out the master plan. With a smile, He turned to the apprentice and said, “Let’s start when you’re ready. It’s going to be a long, hard day but you sure will be better at this when we’re done!”
I am the Carpenter’s apprentice. He has given me the materials, the tools, and the master plan for building that character that could and would affect, if not change, lives.
Because of my will, there are times that I would change His design or maybe do things my way. And whenever I allow the “I” to take “His” place, the structure that I am so tediously building would crumble and fall. There are times when I would hit myself and get hurt. But His grace has always been sufficient to fill me up when there is nothing in me but emptiness. It is His love that heals the wounds. It is His grace that allows me to start again. His patience has always been enough to cover for the absence of mine. It’s amazing how He takes out new materials when I’ve messed up with the ones I used while building at my own accord. Although there is the consequence of starting all over again, He never lets me pay for anything.
The hardest battle that every Christian has to face is the battle against one’s desires. As Paul would put it “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate (Romans 7:15).” Then again, God knows this right from the beginning. That is why He still is able to say “Let’s start [again] when you’re ready” whenever we mess up. And He says this without a hint of impatience in His voice. He knows how everything will go even before we start doing our work – “In your book was written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them (Psalm 139:16).”
The season where our character will be shaped is relatively long and tough but we can always be sure that we will be better at whatever it is that we are going through when we allow ourselves to actually GO THROUGH it. The table I am trying to build is the character that would soon become my anchor in dealing with circumstances that He will be bringing me into. He may want me to reach out to the needy or the broken or the lost. He made me understand that without the right character, I’d be competing instead of completing. I’d be a burden and not a blessing.