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Faceted or Carved

Every diamond needs to be cut and faceted to make it the beautiful stone that we all recognize. Faceting requires cutting and polishing.

In our becoming God's diamonds, from the rough stones that we are, some cutting and polishing will be necessary. No "rough diamond" will enjoy the process. First, it's painful, and furthermore, it seems that things get much worse before they get better. (I've found the same scenario as I've developed as a Christian writer.)

I wrote the following poem years ago, after searching for just the right hope chest for our youngest daughter. We stooped to enter a low African doorway and found chaos inside. Curls of wood shavings lay everywhere. Dust drifted in shafts of light coming through the slatted roof. Boards stood like dominoes against one wall of the rude shed. But, in the light falling through the doorway, a carver sat, completely absorbed in his work of making beauty out of plainness, usefulness out of mere slabs of wood.

Hope Chest

Sylvia Stewart

An empty box stands lidless by the door,

with pencil marks in arabesques and swirls

crossing its face--a worthless chest of boards,

passed, unseen, by a group of giggling girls.

The carving master comes. The box he shifts

into a shaft of light. His fingers trace

the pattern on the rough-hewn boards. He lifts

the knife and hammer, starts to carve the face.

With stroke on stroke of pounding wooden maul,

through much endurance, patient days, months long,

the plaited arcs appear as shavings fall

from the shining blade in hands both sure and strong.

The half-carved chest is roughened, gouged and marred.

Busy tools plied make flying chips.

Exuding fragrance comes from chiseled stars

appearing, rough-carved, on the box's lips.

A Maltese cross is set in either end,

sacred emblems carved with border lace.

Future treasure will in this vault defend

their secrets, cherished behind a symboled face.

The work is done. The handsome hope chest stands

in all its wounded, riven splendor dressed.

The carver smiles, content, and dusts his hands--

forgotten chisel, hammer, pain, distress.

May I like this strong box, in tranquilness,

hoarding treasures, secrets, chiseled pain,

put on a shining face the knife's caress

only enhances--let His truth remain.

Oh Lord, forever chiseled may I be,

so long as the carving tool is held by Thee,

and may I hold rich treasures of Your grace,

with only a radiant smile upon my face.

On those worst of painful days , remember that God is making something beautiful out of you.