This blog entry is the start of a new devotional series for my readers. I wrote the devotionals some years ago about my cousin and his woodworking hobby. My cousin now resides in a dementia unit at a nearby nursing home where I am able to visit weekly. I still pray for him and all my extended family. You’ll find the entire series of devotionals on my author page.
One Spring morning, as I sat in my favorite chair with my journal, I prayed that David, a dear cousin, would deepen his relationship with God. Now a small voice said to me, “Why not speak to him in his own language?”
Surprised, I replied, “Lord, he speaks English!”
The voice reminded me that my cousin loves to work with wood. He carves beautiful fruit bowls, makes traditional Shaker furniture, and designs unique stools, creating each piece with his set of antique hand tools. “He speaks the language of chisels, wood planes, and sand paper.”
“But, Lord,” I protested. “I don’t speak that language! I don’t know anything about hard woods and soft woods or varnishes and wax.”
“You learned English. Learn this language too and then the wood will speak to him.”
I began jotting down a series of short devotional thoughts, based on the theme of woodworking. When I exhausted my limited knowledge, I called David by phone. Delighted to answer questions about his hobby, he talked for an hour.
In the course of our conversation, my cousin explained that just before answering the phone, he had been carving a fruit bowl out of box elder wood when a curious knot emerged on the bowl’s side. Though such a flaw could destroy his project, my friend continued to shave away layers of the wood until the knot appeared completely, in the shape of a fish.
David did not understand that a fish was one of the earliest symbols of the Christian faith, but when he told me about his project, I realized that the Master Craftsman was already hard at work within my cousin’s woodshop and within his heart.