A slightly stooped man carefully stepped out of his red truck, his thinning gray hair blowing random directions in the gusty autumn southwest winds. The truck was not old and was not new. It wore the dents and scratches of his craft. He walked around to the truck bed and began unloading gray cement foundation blocks. A new sign for the small church on the corner? I wondered. Everything I knew about the denomination, well, plain, simple and functional fit.
That corner was one of the busiest in our area. No matter where I was coming from, I had to turn on it every day. And so I watched, fascinated, wondering what the sign would look like. My husband joined in the guessing game. Maybe it was just going to be one of those signs that required information to be manually lettered. There were no electric wires that we could see. Why would they use only gray foundation bricks? Why are they going so slowly?? Why is the primary builder one man? Oh, others came and went, helping with the basic masonry, but the slightly stooped man with the thinning gray hair that blew randomly in the gusty autumn winds as fallen leaves swirled around him slowly wielded his tools mostly by himself.
One day, beautiful and distinct brick-colored bricks appeared over the gray cement foundation blocks. The slightly stooped man now wore a jean jacket and sometimes a red ball cap over his thinning gray hair, as the winds turned toward the northwest and blew the dried up autumn leaves into the harvested corn field across the busy road. I wondered how many other people who drove past the corner with the small church watched and wondered. How many other people wanted to know why they didn’t just put up an electronic sign, because you know, that’s progress.
Once the man completed the bricks, he added large lighter color limestones, carefully selected for their shape and shade, around the edges of the sign. A curved piece appeared on the top of the sign and dark, opalisque tiles filled it, and smaller limestones bordered it, bringing out the colors in the tile. Still, no writing, no church name, no information. What good is a sign with no information? I thought.
For a few days, the wheel barrow and stones sit idly around the sign, and I lose interest. The days grow shorter and the dusk takes over the sky at 3:30 pm now. It’s as if I look through a lense that has finger prints on it and nothing quite comes into focus. Although I love the holidays, the waning daylight makes me often feel half functional.
But yesterday…yesterday, lamps appeared at either end of the sign with no information. Large black wrought iron lamps with old world Dickens charm, warm flame-shaped bulbs shining through the foggy afternoon. How could this be? We had seen no electric wires. The slightly stooped man with the thinning gray hair and the jean jacket stood with his sometimes helper gazing at the sign, a tool in his hand.
And that’s when God whispered. I AM like that stooped man with the thinning gray hair that blows randomly in the wind. You are like that sign that he creates. You may feel like ordinary gray foundation blocks but I craft extradorinarily ordinary souls from scratch. Let me take my time. Let your light shine for Me as I finish my work.
God is not finished with you. He fashions a one of a kind work of art, building the foundation first. That foundation is Jesus Christ.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16 ESV)