There is a show called “Twin Peaks”. In the beginning credits of the show is something that has always struck me as having particular meaning. Not for the show, necessarily, but for me. It is a scene of a saw being sharpened. I think it is very profound.
The teeth of the saw are being sharpened up one side and down the other by a saw sharpening machine. The saw has no choice but to be sharpened. The machine is relentless. Theoretically, if a saw had intelligence, it would want to be sharpened so that it could perform its function. The saw wants to be sharpened. The sharpener sharpens it. But it is not an easy process. The observer can see that the sharpening causes sparks to fly. If the saw could feel, the process looks like it would be very painful. The saw that wants to be sharpened endures being sharpened so that it can do what it is meant to do.
Here is another profound thing.
Malachi 3:3 (NLT)
He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the LORD.
Jesus told us not to hide our light under a basket Matthew 5:15. Yet there is a basket over me and devils sit on it. Every effort I make to get out of the basket is met by the demons sitting on it more strongly. If I try to make a hole in the basket, they see it, poke me with a stick and plug the hole. I do not want to be inside, yet I seem powerless to escape. I wonder why I am not allowed to get out of the basket. Why? Because getting out of the basket is not about me, it is about faith. The way out is not to get out, but to be bright in faith. If I am bright, I will become so bright that the basket will not be enough to contain the brightness, there will be no basket, and I will be out. So obvious an answer! Why? Because Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
(One really does need to read the whole Scripture and not pick this or that from it. The problem and the solution were together, but we tend to quote one or the other.)
We know what the goal is but how to achieve the goal? God has given us the tools we need. God has given us the revelation of His existence as the One God, through His servant, Abraham. He gave us the prophets, laws through Moses. He led us away from slavery and through the desert by parting the Red Sea, pillars of fire and smoke, manna. He sent us His Son. He gave us the Old and New Testaments, Apostles, Disciples, martyrs and saints to help us learn and to set examples through the extraordinary strength of their faith.
We were babes in faith in the early days, needing strict rules to keep us from wandering to shiny but deadly false gods. We were children and needed outward displays of God’s power: arks, major miracles. But now we are young adults in our faith. All the tools have been provided to us. America, born out of a Great Awakening, with its secular government founded on God’s principles was the first step. But we are faltering. What do we do?
What does a child learning to walk do? At first his Father sees his unsteadiness and helps the child. Later, as the child gains strength and coordination, he reaches for his Father’s hand to steady him. He does not reach for a toy to help him. He reaches for his Father. The child is a young man and wants to borrow the car. Later, his Father tells him he needs to buy his own car. His Father could give him a car, but that defeats the purpose. With what money the child asks. I have taught you, the Father says. Get a job. The child works and does his homework. He chooses a good car, he is diligent, but he has not saved enough. The Father sees his child’s earnest effort and helps him buy the car. His Father wants him to be independent and make good choices, but is always there if his child needs him. In his person. In his love. In his example. In what he has taught his child.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41. And sometimes even the spirit gets tired. It is hard for us.
Like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross.
I feel a deep and relentless honing. Something is calling and something is coming but what. Not a question, really, more like a statement. But what. Listen. You can hear it. Our bewilderment. Frustration. Hope. A firm and unshakeable belief, a profound faith that while God will probably not send pillars of smoke and fire for us anymore, He hears our prayers and answers them. Our childhood days are over. We must grow up and become bright in our faith. If we will work, He will help us. Do I know how? No. But Jesus said if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains Luke 17:6
“God, what is it you want from me? I can’t hear you.” Desmond Doss in Hacksaw Ridge
He has been calling. We must listen. Speak, Lord! Your servants are listening!