Mastery of the Impossible
“Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endureth forever.” Psalms 111:11 ESV
What quality does mankind have that God would choose to shape those who trust Him into the very special image of Christ? After Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, why didn’t God just start over on another planet? Is there some extraordinary feature of mankind that attracts God to us? Are those who are being carved into the image of God somehow superior? I am afraid it is just quite the opposite. The Craftsman knows the material. He knows that we are all sinners and quite unsuitable to bear the image of the Holy Perfect One. Yet, He loves us anyway, and we are the material that He chooses to shape.
Before a human sculptor begins his work, he generally searches out a piece of material that is as nearly perfect as possible. If the material is flawed, the work piece may not turn out right. The sculptor rejects such flawed material as a waste of his time. If the sculptor chooses a poor piece of material, he may even have to start over to get a suitable result.
It seems that God, however, looks at things a little differently. He can use a twisted, knotty, warped, old log that is riddled with the rottenness of sin. We are all so flawed with sin that often there hardly appears to be any good wood in us at all. The Master can take the kind of material that others would reject, and carve it to perfection. He does not need to start over. He does it perfectly the first time. Patiently working on us throughout our whole life, he nudges us ever so gradually closer to matching His image.
Yet, at the end of life, it looks as though we are still miles away from being in His image. One might wonder if the Master had failed. Will He leave us half finished? Has He botched the job? Does He deserve ridicule for His coarse attempt? Though all might appear to be lost, at just the right time, the Master will pull the sheet off that is obscuring His work; and will unveil us resurrected and surprisingly changed to be glorified, wonderfully, fabulously, like Him!
The glorious work of the Master Carpenter then is to cunningly take the impossible and make it possible. Perhaps at least a part of what attracts God to us is not how good we are, but how challenging we make His work. There is no one else who can take material this bad and turn it into something so elegant, so gloriously beautiful! It seems that God perhaps carefully selects each of us for some unique challenge we present to the Craftsman. The Master Carpenter’s ability to shape each uniquely flawed person into the perfect image of Christ displays a superb mastery of His impossibly difficult craft. Only the Master Carpenter could do such a thing. God should receive all the glory for He does the impossible. He loves the unlovely. He works with the unworkable. He makes glorious that which was filthy rags. He brings beauty out of ugliness.
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body…” 1Cor 15:42-44A