Imagine a sculptor with a vision that consumes him as he works night and day on his creation. Little by little he chisels and shapes. Carefully he lets his vision take form. As the sculpture nears completion, imagine this artist dropping his tools and walking away. Foolish? Of course. So is the idea of God dropping His tools before He’s made us wise.
Or . . . imagine a caring father spending years on intensive attention of his child, only to walk away before the child reaches maturity. Only a father with a drastic personality change would do such a thing, and God does not have drastic personality changes. He loved us in the beginning and He loves us now. His call to follow Him will not cease until His work is complete and we understand the transformation required to be in full relationship with Him.
His love guides us, His love forms us and His love calls us to serve.
We do not correct strangers we do not know. Why? It’s not our place, there’s no relationship there. We can take comfort then, in the fact that God disciplines us. It implies a relationship, and not just a casual one. It implies that He loves us as children and is leading us toward our eternal reward.
Life often challenges us. Hard times are tools. It may be that the Lord is urging us to change something in our life to truly follow Him – to be His disciple. Or perhaps it is simply a divine stress test, planned for our greater endurance and character. Regardless of its specific cause, we are called to sacrifice and to trust that He is shaping us into His own image. We would not be in the process of conforming to His likeness if we were not His child.
Disciples of Christ cooperate with His work, no matter how uncomfortable His tools are. There was a song in the mid-seventies that many of you may remember, the words lead me to the understanding that we must all learn to “see Him more clearly, follow Him more dearly, day-by-day.” We are the hands of the sculptor creating a great work of art.
Theresa Montminy is Director of Mission Advancement in the Diocese of San Bernardino.