This past Friday night, I went to a friend’s workshop to turn wood. He was in his study with a friend when I arrived. They were working on the ham radio equipment together. We went down to the workshop and he showed me several pieces of wood that I could use on the lathe.
After showing me a few cuts of fresh cedar, he picked up a half-turned shaped bowl, without the center cleaned out, that a student had rejected. The piece had flown off the lathe and the student gave up. That reminded me of what had made me quit five years ago, but I actually tried several times before throwing in the towel and got smacked in the shoulder. I kept that dud for a very long time, always meaning well to turn it again. When I finally did, it broke completely apart. It was very hard and fragile.
After four hours in front of the lathe, I had a nice smooth bowl with thin sides. I removed it from the lathe and used a different set of clamps to hold it on from the top of the bowl, so I could cut off the bottom. I was too impatient and proceeded to tight the clamps to much. I could hear the walls squeaking and cracking. While I turned, the spindle gouge stuck and the bowl twisted in the clamps. Cutting more lightly against the wood, it finally exploded. Went around the shop and picked up all the pieces, lay the bowl aside and put the pieces inside. Took several pictures and looked up at the clock, it was too late to start again.
At home, Dad said, “Why don’t you cut off the top?” That’s what I did. I woke up early the next day and determined to try again, I left the house without eating because my mind was set on finishing it. Started at eight o’clock and worked all the way to noon. Another four hours and this time, it was much easier but I left with my upper spine hurting from all the vibrations that are subtle during woodturning.
Standing during the carving process while the lathe was running at 2,000 – 5,000 RPM, wearing a large protection face shield, while the vacuum ran loudly in the background to collect any dust made from sanding…I learned a lesson from the Lord. Only yesterday, I was broken in my spirit because of sin and that’s when the bowl broke. And Saturday was a new day, there I was not giving up on that bowl, even though it had broken the day before.
There I was, lost in the moment, sanding the faces of the new, smaller bowl. Redoing those rough edges into round edges, smoothing out all the imperfections with different grits of sandpaper. Buffing it down to a new shine, with several coats of sanding sealer, lacquer and wax. Showing patience towards it, loving it to perfection, not focusing on yesterday’s failures but looking forward to the future of this new bowl’s opportunity to shine again for me. That’s when He, Jesus, got my attention. Here were two days and the bowl was broken and now the Creator was working it over again, with the same Love as he had for it the day before. He was patiently finishing it to be beautiful once more for His purposes.
This song came to mind as I finished writing.
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; Redeemed through His infinite mercy, His child and forever I am.
Redeemed, redeemed, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; Redeemed, redeemed, His child and forever I am. Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus, No language my rapture can tell; I know that the light of His presence With me doth continually dwell.
I think of my blessèd Redeemer, I think of Him all the day long: I sing, for I cannot be silent; His love is the theme of my song.
I know there’s a crown that is waiting, In yonder bright mansion for me, And soon, with the spirits made perfect, At home with the Lord I shall be.
— Fanny Crosby