Have you ever really looked at a marble statue, looking closely at the surface? Next time, look for the chisel marks, the edges (if there are any), and the detail work. The effort to make such a thing is astounding, especially when you consider the materials used. A slab of marble, a chisel, a hammer, cloth, what else? I’m no artist. It’s craziness. The fact that some masters can get such smooth surfaces amazes me. I have tried to polish rocks. That’s about my speed.
What if I told you that in life every pain, every hardship, every struggle is a chisel, a stroke of the master sculptor, slowly, purposefully changing our slab of rough materials and stubborn spaces into something truly fantastic?
In May of 1972, a mentally challenged man attacked Pieta, the statue of Jesus and Mary by Michelangelo, with a hammer! Can you even imagine? It hurts my heart to think about. He was deranged and thought he himself was Jesus, returned to earth, and for some reason was threatened by this statue. Ludicrous and painful to us onlookers.
But how often do I do something just like that? I find myself so often attacking myself and others with hammers. Obviously not literally. But in my head, I think that person could use some “refining” or when I consider my own life, I think it’s too slow moving, or I’m not getting the results I want fast enough. When you boil it down, I just simply do not trust the Artist. I don’t believe the sculptor is doing his job and I take the tools and start smashing away.
The beauty of this, though, is the realization that even with all the smashing I’ve done in my life, Jesus is still the Master Sculptor. The great damage caused turned into an opportunity to truly show off the artistry of a genius. Like in Pieta, where skilled craftsman were able to replace and repair the broken pieces, I believe Jesus restores and redeems every broken part of my life no matter how bad and far reaching the damage may be. And though at times all the work of restoration is hard and painful, and sometimes I can’t see any progress at all, I believe – help my unbelief – that He is at work and the plan reaches far beyond what my eyes can see, even into eternity. I forget that. I think my life is about this day, that event coming up, those decisions I need to make. We are made for so much more. We are part of a huge design, a work of art for all time, so much more beautiful than any one of us alone and so much bigger than every heartache we feel stacked up from end to end throughout our lives.
We are works of art. Do we treat each other with awe and respect? Or are we too busy running around with hammers? Maybe scissors. Put them down. Let the Artist work. Maybe we’re supposed to be assistants. Maybe we’re supposed to be handing him stuff when asks for them. Maybe we’re supposed to help by cleaning tools and getting supplies. Maybe we’re the ones finding raw materials and bringing them to His studio, laying them at His feet and watching Him bring them to life. Maybe we’ve been too busy critiquing and we miss out on the craftsmanship, the sheer skill and creativity of a master. Maybe we’re too impatient and we miss the tiny, almost invisible marks He’s made, all over, unmistakably perfect. When you look closely, with a patient eye, you’ll see the details of excellence. When you step back… way, way back… you’ll see it all.