My father used to have a saying that he would use when times were difficult.
He would say, “They told me to look up, the worst is yet to come. I looked up and it hit me square in the face.”
Then he would laugh.
That doesn’t sound like much encouragement, does it?!
I was reminded of that statement recently when I visited an internationally known glass blowing studio. The creations there were incredible; the glass had been turned into shapes and colors and figures that were beyond what seemed possible. The results were absolutely beautiful.
As I thought about that, I realized this was an illustration of what can happen to our lives if we look at change with the right eyes.
The raw glass is certainly nothing to note or brag about. It is unshaped and without beauty. But it has potential if a master craftsman takes it in hand.
I watched as a glass blower took people out of the audience, had them choose a piece of glass and then began to explain the process by which their ideas would become reality.
He put the glass on a long tube and introduced it to the furnace. Even on a cool day, those furnaces were hot.
He held the glass in the fire for a period of time known only to the master designer. Without benefit of a watch or visible timetable, he would pull the glass out of the fire and roll it and shape it and have his apprentice blow into the tube. He would allow the glass to cool for a bit and then thrust it into a different furnace and repeat the process of shaping and rolling and blowing and cooling.
Some of the creations took more time than others; the more intricate and beautiful the design, the more time seemed to be required. The aim of the designer was to make that glass become everything it was designed to become.
I saw a couple of times where the process got messed up. I am not sure what went wrong, but the craftsman would start the process over again until what came out was stunning. Then the person who had bought the glass creation had to wait 24 hours before collecting the beauty.
That is how life works with us in God’s care, and it is how change becomes satisfying. There is struggle; there is time; there is faith and patience; there is beauty.
There is a master designer, and he wants the very best for us. He knows what our potential is, but that potential can only be revealed through fire and struggle and test. But in the hands of this loving Master Designer, what results is more beautiful than anyone would have ever expected.
The genius and power of the Master Craftsman are on display.
I won’t say we always enjoy the process. I will say the result is worth it.
I recently had a dear friend die unexpectedly. He drove a car into a car wash and when the car came out shortly after, the man had stepped into the arms of God. This man had endured some difficult times: a crippling fall, a time of great financial struggle, the birth of a beautiful but handicapped child. The list could go on.
I was asked to speak at his memorial service. The testimonies and memories that were shared proved that the struggles of his life had produced beauty that blessed his family, his friends and, literally, the whole city where he lived.
That is change that makes us happy; it is the trial that is more valuable than gold.
It is the beauty that God wants to produce in all of us — if we will let him.