I received a very special Christmas gift this season. This is a gift which inspired me to write this morning. Personally, I believe that it will continue to inspire me long after this morning is through.
Most who know me well, know that music has been a very big part of my life. My most cherished possessions are always guitars. On my way over to France, my guitar went “missing” for about 3 hours. I remember telling someone that the airline could lose all of my other possessions, just not the guitar. I am so thankful that it did show up eventually.
I had a beautiful Crafter guitar that was going to be my “forever” instrument. It had an inlaid custom pickguard with a sparrow in flight and my initials inlaid in it. Looking at the sparrow every day reminded me of the verse:
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”Matthew 6:26
It also reminded me of the song my mother sang so often, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” Time progressed and eventually I had to sell that “forever” guitar to get my daughter through college. It was a small sacrifice to make for her success. In preparing for the sale, I carefully removed that special pickguard to save for when I could get another instrument. Unfortunately, it broke. My heart sank with the loss.
On my way back to France, God blessed me with a new replacement guitar. The craftsman who inlaid the first pickguard graciously made a replacement for me and sent it to France. This was a very special Christmas gift. I was anxiously looking forward to its arrival and seeing my guitar complete once again. It finally arrived! I unwrapped the package…and my heart sank again. I quickly realized that something was wrong. Somehow, that kind craftsman had used the template for the old guitar and not the new guitar. It was way too big!
I went back to the apartment and tested to see for certain. There was just no way it would fit. Ugh! I couldn’t bear the thought of sending it back across the Atlantic and having it repaired. It was then that a crazy idea came into my head. We have tools in the workshop, I thought. Perhaps I could make it work! I made a template and decided if I took a little off here and there, it would be alright. After all, I picked up a fair bit of woodworking knowledge over the years. Off I went to the workshop. It was not an easy task as the wood split easily. I could have discarded it and given up. Somehow, in my unskilled way, I managed to get it into the shape I wanted, which ironically, was a shape I had originally wanted but forgot to ask for.
I then debated whether to make it glossy or not. I decided on glossy. I got some varnish. Unfortunately, the second coat didn’t set well. I eventually had to remove it and start over. I have been looking at this pickguard and reflecting on it as the varnish slowly dries. It was the wrong size. It has imperfect cuts. It has a couple of cracks. The finish isn’t perfect. But it is beautiful and is now absolutely…imperfectly perfect.
How special it is that this gift reminds me, everytime I pick up my guitar, of this new thought? There it is; the wrong size and shape, with imperfect repairs, and a less than perfect finished coat. How fitting is it that it is an image of me in God’s hands? I am imperfect. I have cracks from life’s pressures. I may may play wrong notes. I may choose the wrong words. I may feel inadequate and like I’m the wrong fit. My “finish” has plenty of blemishes. The cool thing is that God sees our worth even when we don’t see it in ourselves. He is not going to discard us because of our cracks. All He sees is that we are beautiful; reflecting His glory. He, with a much more masterful hand than mine, takes us and makes us fit perfectly into His plans. He is faithful to finish His good work with us, polishing us to shine for Him, so that we become a true thing of beauty in His hands. He somehow makes us imperfectly perfect.
So this pickguard will go on my guitar. I will be glad to tell its story. Best of all, whenever I pick up my guitar and see that small lovely pickguard, complete with its imperfections, I will remember how, in God’s hands, He makes all imperfect things absolutely perfect in every way.
“And He has said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”2 Corinthians 12:9
“…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus…”Philippians 1:6