In the carpentry section of our institute, the most fascinating machine to me is the lathe (a machine that shapes pieces of wood, metal etc. by holding, turning them against a fixed cutting tool.) The wood that turns on the lathe is treated with a sharpened chisel that cuts and smoothes the odd parts of the wood or metal and makes those rough parts smooth and beautiful. Now the wood can fit into a beautiful furniture.
Our life is like this wood on the lathe, which turns on the axis of time smoothed by the oddities of pains, struggles, sickness, death, accidents, misfortune etc. which are the sharpened chisels of our life, that mould and make us beautiful human persons.
In Gen. 37:12 onwards we read the misfortunes of Joseph. Rejected, abandoned and sold by his own brothers, conspired by Portiphar’s wife and imprisoned; but all these misfortunes in his life paved the way for him to be a great man in Egypt. God the Father allowed his Son to carry the heavy cross, accept rejection from his own people and even his disciples and die on the cross to become the redeemer of all humanity.
God allows unpleasant things to happen in our lives in order to make us mature persons. God tested the faith of Abraham and Job through a series of loss, rejection, sickness, sacrifice etc. St. Paul experienced struggles in his life as an apostle of Christ (2 Cor. 11:24-33). These examples remind us, that the acceptance of daily struggles for the sake of Christ enables us to live a happy and contented life.
The shape or design of the wood on lathe is determined by the carpenter who handles the lathe, and he executes his plans and imagination on the wood. Has the potter not got right over the clay to make one for a special purpose and another for ordinary use? (Rom. 9:21). Again in Jer. 18:2-6, God shows Jeremiah a potter spinning the wheel and the clay in the hand of the potter. And we are like the clay or wood in the hand of God who moulds us according to his imagination and plan.
The piece of wood is smoothed on the lathe for a purpose; that is to make beautiful furniture. God forms human persons to fit into human society. Thus the Loving God forms human beings to become part of Himself. Let us pray that we may become instruments in the hand of God and allow ourselves to be moulded by that loving God to fit us in the Kingdom of God.
– – – written by Fr. James Pezhathummoottil MSFS