On a guided tour in Florence Italy, I stood in awe of the magnificent talent revealed in the paintings and sculptures of Michelangelo in his museum. The guide stopped us at his unfinished sculpture of St. Matthew. She told us Michelangelo left this sculpture unfinished on purpose.
First I noticed St. Matthew’s smooth and polished nose, shoulder, and tunic around his chest. As I looked past the polished sections, I traced the deeper tool marks revealing more of his form and clothing. The deeper I looked into the statue, the rougher the series of large metal chisel marks became. It was as if Michelangelo gave us a peek into how we are all refined by God’s tools on this Earth, whether we realize it or not.
Studying Michelangelo’s masterpiece confirmed he was entrusted with a gift for seeing the unseen and making it visible to us. Michelangelo himself said, “I saw the angel in the marble and I carved to set him free. Many believe – and I believe – that I have been designated for this work by God. In spite of my old age, I do not want to give it up; I work out of love for God and I put all my hope in Him.”
God enabled Michelangelo to leave us with a tangible picture of the way Jesus slowly and gently breaks away all the unnecessary worries, expectations, lies, guilt, shame, and confusion encasing our lives as we walk by faith and not by sight. Jesus doesn’t need a sketch or drawing to see you as righteous. But you and I don’t have his eyes or knowledge in our imperfect human minds without the help of the Holy Spirit. You need to see God’s pure truth through His word to understand and submit to letting Him refine you though maturing your faith. It is too easy to lose sight of being a child of God because of all the imperfectness you see in the mirror.
However, God never loses sight of His beloved children and the masterpiece He has planned for you to be. Partner with Jesus and let him carve you out of the marble in your life and set you free!
What sculptors have touched your heart the most?