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seashell

Art from Found Objects

When our boys were small, we took summer vacations on the southeast coast of Florida, where we practically lived on the beach and in the water, because it was so hot. One of my favorite pastimes was sifting through the plentiful variety of beautiful shells. Discovering one single unbroken shell was like the thrill of finding buried treasure. The waves had taken their toll, yet I found an odd beauty in the broken pieces, and could visualize unique sculptures fashioned from the fragments. The artist in me has always been drawn to the challenge of creating something beautiful from random things that are not. That has resulted in an attic and garage full of shells, pine cones, oddly shaped sticks, bits of bark, rocks of all descriptions, and various dried plants and flowers. All these collectables possessed the kinetic energy to become something magnificent in the artist’s hands – a joyous sort of repurposing.

I see God as the Master Artist, the Master Creator. He originated all color, design, function, and visual drama. He created at His pleasure, for His pleasure, and called His Creation good. What He has accomplished is so exquisite, the best we can hope for is to somehow copy — even crudely — what He has done.

The creative complexity of a human being is certainly God’s mastery at its best – and cannot be copied. God’s concept of beauty surpasses all: the resolute strength of heart beneath the haggard expression of the single mom, the unconditional love and/or joy flowing from the Downs syndrome child, the steadfast faith of a bent and wrinkled senior citizen. And God smiles. It was His idea to use acacia wood, beautiful in color tone and woodgrain, to build the arc of the covenant and the incense altar, both covered with pure hammered gold so that no one was even aware of the beauty beneath.

Although God’s design was beautiful from the beginning, the enemy’s purpose has always been to kill, steal, and destroy. God is not taken by surprise, but stands ready to execute plan B, C, D, E, etc. as He deems necessary. He is the One who picks up the broken pieces of our lives, and determines He can make something very beautiful out of them. They may differ somewhat or greatly from His original design, but that is actually part of the beauty. Nothing is lost as it is repurposed…in fact, one might even be tempted to think He knew from the beginning that He would have to remake His original Creation(s).

Regardless of how devastating any life-crisis seems in the moment, our God is not alarmed, nor taken by surprise. He is not fretting about what to do next. He is patiently waiting for us to put ourselves as the damaged lump of clay into the Potter’s Hands to be remolded and repurposed. All He asks is that we trust the Master Creator knows what He’s doing. Isaiah 61:3: “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”