We Stand in Awe

By Sharon L. Reidenbach

What makes us haul our cameras to places like the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, the Dunhuang Dunes of Western China, or Carlsbad Caverns? Isn’t it to see the wonders of how our master Potter sculpted the landscape with wind, ice, sand, water, volcanoes, and storms to create layers of color, unusual twists and curves, deep valleys, and shifting dunes? We stand in awe. “But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You are our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand” (Isaiah 64:8, NKJV). He uses whatever it takes to bring out the best.
I’m a novice wood worker. And the same marvels on a smaller scale are discovered when working on a lathe. I use a spindle gouge to cut and design as the wood turns. It’s exciting to watch what’s inside the wood come to life after stripping the outer layers away. To reach that inner beauty I can’t miss a step in cutting, sanding, polishing, staining, and waxing.
And God doesn’t cut corners either. We’re told not to give up, our fiery trials will, [by a spindle gouge] one day, reveal the inner beauty of our faith: “Greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials” (I Peter 1:7)
But God, in His wisdom, gave us Spring to give us strength in facing the challenge of our ‘shaping’. I am the promise of hope, says Spring, that suffering has an end in God’s design: “To everything there is a season, time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). The Christ rose from the dead after suffering on the cross giving Eternal Life; the seeds that died in fall pierced the earth with new flowers; caterpillars suffered the loss of self to a beautiful butterfly, and the trees endured the painful pruning to produce greater shade in the summer: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. . . And every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:1-2).
Will we get to see if our suffering resembles one of nature’s magnificent structures, or a hidden treasure inside a block of wood, or grace the table in a flower vase? No one knows but God. We may not witness the beauty of our tribulations until the other side of the emerald city. But we can know for sure: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy [the unbelievable joy from our molding trials] comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). And that; “Those of us in Christ are a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things are new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
This season, look for the message of Spring’s revealing hope. God’s assurance of life after suffering is all around us. And watch how nature glorifies Christ, who gave the greatest ‘hope’ of all: Eternity and His love forever.