Last night, before I got ready to go to church, I was watching a movie, and noticed my son’s little bowl sitting on top of the counter. It had been sitting there a while, now full of coins, useful in its own little way, and I realized I hadn’t taken a picture of it yet to show off to all my social media friends what a wonderful job he had done. So, I picked it up, walked outside with it so I could find some decent light, and snapped a picture with my cell phone.
It’s a sweet bowl, handcrafted out of cedar by my 10 year old boy. My pastor makes bowls and my son had an instant obsession with the art and wanted to try it for himself. I explained to him that he was too young for a wood lathe, but we would buy him some hand tools for Christmas and if he liked it and showed diligence, we would talk about moving up to some better tools later on.
So, my boy talked his Poppie into building him a vice he could sit on and work on that bowl.
And he worked and worked and whittled and chopped on that little piece of cedar for weeks until he finally came home with something he was proud of. A little misshapen bowl, rough in spots and choppy in others, but handmade and handed over to me with a big smile on his face and love in his heart. He was about as proud of that little bowl as a little boy could be over anything. He had made it himself and even though it looked unfinished to some, he thought it was perfect.
I got to thinking about that bowl, and how we’re just like it. Rough, misshapen, hard, not sanded smooth and shiny, a little piece of timber, still being shaped.
But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and you our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand.
Isaiah 64:8 NASB
We’re not always going to be clean and sanded and smooth. Sometimes, we’re dirty and filthy and just wrong. Sometimes we forget to forgive and we’re angry when we shouldn’t be and sometimes we just have bad days. Sometimes we cry in pain or cry because we’ve caused it. We yell at our children, our husband or wife, and we’re sorry, but too prideful to say it. Sometimes, we just fail. Flat out, plain and simple fail. We miss the mark. We’re not sanded or smooth or pristine.
But, it’s okay. Sometimes we need that time. Sometimes we just need to stop and breathe, take it all in. Sometimes, God uses it to show us where we need to go. He is shaping us like clay on a potter’s wheel. We have a God who will not leave us unfinished. He will complete the good work he started in us, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to be all polished and shiny here on this Earth.
26 Just look at your own calling, believers; not many [of you were considered] wise according to human standards, not many powerful or influential, not many of high and noble birth. 27 But God has selected [for His purpose] the foolish things of the world to shame the wise [revealing their ignorance], and God has selected [for His purpose] the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong [revealing their frailty]. 28 God has selected [for His purpose] the insignificant (base) things of the world, and the things that are despised and treated with contempt, [even] the things that are nothing, so that He might reduce to nothing the things that are, 29 so that no one may [be able to] boast in the presence of God. 30 But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God [revealing His plan of salvation], and righteousness [making us acceptable to God], and sanctification [making us holy and setting us apart for God], and redemption [providing our ransom from the penalty for sin], 31 so then, as it is written [in Scripture], “He who boasts and glories, let him boast and glory in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 AMP
Maybe our circumstances, maybe our rough spots are unique to us, special to us so we can use what God has given us to help others in similar circumstances. Sometimes we have to use our rough spots, our chinked up and broken parts to witness to others, to let God’s love spill out of those parts that others can so easily connect with, recognize and attach themselves to. Sometimes, we are just an unfinished little bowl waiting to be shined up.