A Work Unfinished

I wrote a post the other day for the missions organization I work with. It was a beautiful story of how God touched the heart of a broken child in Ukraine, but what resonates most deeply in my heart were Valerija’s final words: “God never leaves a work unfinished.”

Wow. It’s almost enough to leave me speechless.

My thoughts instantly turned to a passage in Philippians: “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 1:4-6

God will complete the good work He began in you. He never leaves a work unfinished. Right now, the canvas of your life may not look too impressive, but the Master Artist has not yet finished painting. The Carpenter is not yet done carving, the Potter is still shaping.

Yes, I am a work unfinished, but I won’t always be that way. I cling to the promise of beauty from these ashes. I am a masterpiece waiting to emerge from the clay. It may be awhile before the refining process is complete, but it will happen. After all, God never leaves a work unfinished.

“…in the hands of a master carpenter, no piece of wood is safe from becoming a masterpiece.” -Steven James

The Pattern of Our Lives

My dad is a carpenter by trade. As I grew up, I spent a considerable amount of time at some of his job sites watching him turn an empty room into a masterpiece. I remember one time he recruited Mom and I to help him with a huge tile job. I walked into a basement to find what was, without a doubt, the most unusual floor covering I had ever seen. There were seven different colors of eighteen-inch square tiles spread across the floor in no particular order. “There’s no pattern,” I observed, somewhat shocked.

That’s when my dad chuckled and informed me that I was staring at the most complex pattern he had ever created. When the owners of the house told him that they didn’t want a pattern, Dad had to carefully create a pattern that would give the appearance of no pattern. I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to wrap my mind around that concept. To the untrained eye, that basement appears to be a jumbled mess of color, but in the eyes of the master carpenter, it’s a carefully concocted design. I believe that’s the way God works in our lives.

To be perfectly honest, my life doesn’t make much sense to me. I don’t know why I was raised in the woods of Ohio with four siblings. I don’t know why I’m obsessed with names and their meanings, or why I think that life should be a musical. I’m not sure why I feel so compelled to write the thoughts that stir in my heart, and I certainly don’t know how all of those things tie together to make any sense at all. When I look at my life, I often see it like I saw that basement I helped Dad grout. It appears to be so random and sporadic that I can’t imagine there is any sort of pattern there at all. But there is a pattern, though it can only be seen by the Master Carpenter.

Check out these verses referring to God’s carefully concocted pattern for our lives:

“All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.” -Psalm 139:16

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
       before you were born I set you apart;
       I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” -Jeremiah 1:5

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

These verses and others like them are a reminder that my life is an intricate pattern created by the hand of the Master Carpenter. The same hand that set the universe in motion carefully arranged every detail of my life. Though I cannot see the pattern with my untrained eyes, I trust that when the job is completed, the “tiles” of my life will rest in the exact place they were intended to go, and my life will be the masterpiece God purposed to design.