Tuesday, April 2, 2013

God's Chisels

Dear Friends,

It is said that Michelangelo “saw” David in his mind’s eye before he ever started crafting that uncut piece of marble.  Before Michelangelo ever lifted a hammer and chisel and started to work. David was finished and complete.  Michelangelo knew exactly what he wanted him to be.  So it is with us.  In God’s mind we were finished before we were started, and God knows in advance what He wants us to be.

God wants to chisel the “David” out of us!  So He takes the hammer of circumstances and the chisel of ministry, and He begins to chip, chip, chip away at this piece of uncut marble that is us. He uses tools of all kinds: political situations, the church, opposition, frightening circumstances, our tasks and callings. He will use anything He has to use to craft the likeness of God in us.  The Master Artist has a plan.  He has a definite pattern in mind as He works away on the image that will become a reality.  And he never leaves His work of art until it is finished.

So next time you hear (or feel!) that chip, chip, chipping in your soul, take comfort that God will stick with you until the end.  One day His work in you will be finished and you will be like Him!

I know I am more like Jesus because of how God has used the circumstances of life to shape me – circumstances I do not believe are by chance or merely coincidental. There was the chisel of the Second World War and of being brought up in wartime Britain. There was the chisel of college and my teacher training.  Add to that the chisel of sickness and hardship.  The chisel of marriage and children crafted some of the “David” out of me.  Undoubtedly the chisel of disappointment and loss, of shattered dreams and broken promises played its part.

Then there is the chisel of ministry itself. Ministry arranges all sorts of surprises along the way.  I could have never imagined myself being alone so much, for example.  My husband had joined the mission as a treasurer, not as a traveling speaker.  But traveling speaker was the role that God had in mind for Stuart.  This was one of those secondary callings He had chosen for my husband before the foundation of the world.  For months on end my husband traveled and preached.  My dreams of an ideal close-knit family experience disappeared.  I found myself trying to explain the yawning “Daddy space” that had appeared, and had not been on my agenda, to my children. Seldom have I heard the “chip of the chisel” more clearly than in those days!  My selfish outer shell, which was very thick and very hard, was being chipped away.  I learned not to meddle with the plan of God for my husband’s life.  God’s surprises come in many different ways. Circumstances that take us off our feet.

What has been some of the chisels and hammers in your life?  Perhaps you could spend time with the Lord thinking back to the surprises in your life.  Maybe right now you are struggling with some broken dreams.  Whom God chooses, He calls, and whom He calls, He chisels.  Know that God trusts you with His challenges.  It’s a compliment to have the Master Sculptor’s full attention.

As I have learned to recognize the tools of my heavenly Michelangelo, the Master Sculptor, I have learned how deeply He loves me.  I am only a work in process, and the callings or tasks along the way are simply a part of His loving eternal plan in my life.

As God “chisels the David” out of you, learn to treat all hammer blows as divine compliments. He has a work of art in mind.  Faith that is able to trust Him with the hammer and chisel is faith enough to finish.

With love,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine        



  1. My life was getting just too hard, and I called on my pastor in desperation. I told him if I could clean up my situation then I would be able to concentrate on what I felt was a calling from God into a more intimate relationship with him. He illustrated for me a story of how the block of marble feels the chipping of the craftsman and doesnt recognise that a beautiful statue is slowly emerging. As your story Jill, a lovely lesson to learn.

  2. Thank you for the reminder that God can use/uses everything we go through for a purpose.

  3. A very timely word for someone also going through a very painful chiseling process including the loss of plans and dreams. And wondering if it was divine punishment......thank you, JBU and Jill.

  4. Jill, I thank God for you! His has a message to me through you JBU every time that encourages me so much. I had brain surgery on monday and a terrible case of double vision now although I believe the surgery was sucessful, even more I know I am being conformed into the image of His son and this is a part of that, a part I don't want to miss. In Him.