I remember vividly one day watching my father paint a ceramic statuette. It was probably one of his Father Christmases, as he collects them. I don't remember really. I do remember at one point he put a rather garish color on, and I asked "Dad, why did you do that? It's ugly!"
His response? "Brittanie, don't ever judge a work in progress. You can't see what the artist sees. It takes a lot of steps and sometimes you don't understand what's going on, and sometimes it seems like it's going to be ugly. But I see what it's going to become. It'll be beautiful, just be patient and watch."
He was right. He later put an antiquing stain over it, and the color that was previously much too bright to fit suddenly blended beautifully. I hadn't understood that it had to be garish to be able to show through the stain.
It wasn't until several months after I lost Cora that I realized I was doing the same thing with the way my life was going. I said over and over in my prayers, "Father, why did you do that!? It's ugly!" It was then that I had a picture in the back of my mind of a Sculptor working a block of stone. I'd heard the metaphor of God as a sculptor before, but always in clay, molding. It felt so much more like my experience to see in that mental picture a block of stone. A stone sculptor works with a hammer and chisel. With each stroke, a piece of the stone is cut off and discarded. It seems so much more painful, from the stone's perspective. I had in my mind a picture of the way that my life was going to go. I had a picture in my mind of what the Sculptor was doing. And the granite had this beautiful grain, and I was so excited to see that grain in the end sculpture.
And I was horrified when He chiseled it out.
"Brittanie, don't ever judge a work in progress. You can't see what the Artist sees. It takes a lot of steps and sometimes you don't understand what's going on, and sometimes it seems like it's going to be ugly. But I see what it's going to become. It'll be beautiful, just be patient and watch."
Do I see what the Artist sees? No. Sometimes I still don't understand why someone so precious and beautiful couldn't stay in the end product of my life. I see my life as it is. But He sees my life as it will be. He has a picture in His mind of what I am becoming and sometimes I don't understand. Sometimes it's very painful. But if I am patient, I will see the beauty of the end product eventually. I just have to wait a little while.