When wood is raw and freshly cut, it is still rough and splinter-prone. If you rub your hand across it, you may pull away filled with a little pain from a piece of wood merging with your tender fingers. It is hard to grasp and difficult to display, but it can be used for very practical things, such as saw horses, firewood and boarding up holes or drafty windows.
To be a bit more useful, a woodsman will begin to sand that raw wood. (Sanding, Planing and Scraping are all methods of smoothing wood. Each depends on the type of wood and the desired results from the smoothing. For simplicity, I will only refer to sanding.) The first sandpaper applied is very coarse, and it will shave away much of the roughness and splinted wood. As the plank become smoother, more refined pieces of sandpaper are used to cause more and more fine-tuned sanding. Once, the piece is smoothed to the creator’s liking, he or she will run his hands over the fine, smooth piece of wood.
In the final stages of refining, the carpenter might even smooth the wood with cloths or apply a varnish, fiberglass or stain to finish the handiwork. He may create shelves, cabinets, tables, chairs, or even doors and window frames. In the end, a beautiful work of art is presented for daily use or display.
This is how our Heavenly Father prepares us as well. When we are first saved, our approach to Christianity, life and even each other can be so rough that, if we aren’t careful, we might leave “splinters” in the lives of those around us. God has to smooth out those rough places. He has to apply pressure, allow challenges and even trials to come to “sand away” those splintery spots. In the end, He creates a beautiful work of art within our lives that might be used by His might hand to bring impact into the lives of someone else.Sometimes, the method might seem strenuous, tedious and even unrelenting, but just trust, He will finish what He has started. Never give up through the process, and when He is finished, know you will never be the same. It will be worth it!