William E. (Bo) Hulsey
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Romans 8:18 (NIV)
As men shape wood…
Do you remember the most beautiful piece of woodwork you’ve ever seen? It’s probably something that caught your eye and you just had to stop and admire its graceful curves and elegant finish. Chances are it was a handmade, custom piece. It probably took hours of careful cutting, trimming, and sanding to form it from the raw wood to create a beautiful centerpiece that commanded attention.
Because I am a musician, I appreciate a finely crafted guitar. Handmade guitars are especially desirable because of the care put into their construction. Luthiers (guitar builders) spend hours shaping the bodies and necks of their creations. The result of their work is a beautiful sounding master piece that will last a lifetime.
All guitars start out the same—as a board. After harvesting, they are sent to be aged. They are placed in a drying rack and stay there for many years. They will not be sent to the shop until the proper level of humidity is reached. This gives them stability. It takes up to one year per inch of thickness for a board to dry properly; a slow process indeed. After drying they are sent to the shop where they are sawed, routed, drilled, and sanded. If wood could feel pain the shaping process would be agonizing. The last step is to polish and assemble the instrument before shipping it. The result is a lasting masterpiece the owner will cherish.
…so God shapes men.
God is shaping His people. Each of us was created with a purpose that God has chosen for us from the beginning. Most people are very glad to hear that God has a purpose for them. What we hate is the process of finding that purpose. Many times pain is part of the process. Like a piece of fine mahogany or maple, we must undergo the shaping process for God to achieve the end result.
The shaping process is painful. God has His own “tools” that cut, rip, and drill into our lives to achieve the final product. Don’t get me wrong, He is not in Heaven thinking about how to hurt us. He has already seen what evil will befall us and He is prepared to help us grow through the tragedies of life.
Consider Job and David. These are two great men of the Bible. They have something in common with you and me—they each lost children. Job lost all of his children in one day (Job 1:18-19) and David’s son died seven days after his birth (2 Samuel 12:14-18). They each dealt with their losses differently, but one thing was constant—they remained faithful to God. It was their losses that would help them to grow as men of God.
The loss of our children will shape us too. For me, it made an opening to re-enter the ministry. Now I have something to offer those who are hurting from the loss of a child. I can honestly say I know how it feels to hold the lifeless form of a baby in my hands and weep for what might have been. That is my connection to other fathers who have been there too. Through this I have found a purpose.
A Work in Progress
Arriving at this place in my life has not been easy. The very fact that I am connected with Glory Babies is because my child preceded me to Heaven. I am not part of this because I think it would be fun; I’m reaching out because Jesus Christ reached for me during our struggle with losing Isabella. Years ago, I told God I would never be involved in ministry again because we were hurt. I closed the world off and was content to be just another person with many demands and nothing to offer a hurting world.
Shortly after the May 2004 meeting, I was moved to do something with my loss. I wanted to memorialize our daughter; I wanted to make a difference. When I was first approached about working with the fathers of Glory Babies, I was doubtful about doing it. Eventually, God’s plan supplanted my own and here I am. God has a way of changing our hearts.
God is still working on me. It is a cliché I know, but it is the absolute truth. God is patiently cutting away everything that is unnecessary and eventually I will emerge and be exactly what He wants. The process will be slow and painful at times, but someday the shape will emerge. What is that shape you ask? It is to be like Christ (Romans 8:29).
I take comfort in knowing that God finds His children to be worthy of such work. He loves us enough to work us into shape; the shape of Jesus Christ. I do not look forward to the remainder of the process, but I know it will produce fruit in my life. If the fruit produced can help someone else; then it will be worth every moment.
Remember that even the most beautiful piece of furniture started out as a rough-sawn board. It is only after the skilled work of the master craftsman that its beauty and function can truly be seen. The finished product has always been there; it just takes a master to bring it out. Allow yourself to fall into the hands of the Master. Allow Him to remove what is unnecessary and reveal what you are to become. It may be painful and uncomfortable, but it can help you find your purpose.