In 1501, a twenty-six-year-old Italian artist was given an unfinished sculpture and commissioned to create a statue of the Biblical hero David for the Cathedral of Florence. To be created from a huge block of granite, it seemed to many an impossible task. But Michelangelo saw something others had missed and in three years’ time, he was able to create a masterpiece that has been hailed by many as the greatest statue created by human hands.
The original commission had been given Agostino di Duccio in 1464. He got as far as shaping the legs, feet and the torso, but abandoned the project in 1466. Ten years later Antonio Rossellino was commissioned to pick up where Duccio had left off but his commission was soon cancelled.
For the next twenty-five years, this block of marble lay discarded, exposed to the elements in the courtyard of the Opera del Duomo. It was, for some, a useless piece of refuse. But Opera authorities, hoping to resurrect the dead project, commissioned Michelangelo to see if he could breathe life into the inert piece of stone.
The two previous artists had abandoned the project, convinced that imperfections in the stone might threaten the stability of the statue. But Michelangelo looked past the defects and saw what it could be. For the next three years, he chiseled away at the excess, and from the huge piece of granite, there emerged a stunning masterpiece.
The depiction of David, poised and ready for combat, was inherent in the stone all along. It only took the vision and endeavor of a master sculptor to bring it to light. And that is how God sees you and me.
“We are God’s masterpiece.” writes the Apostle Paul. “He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
“Jesus didn’t die just to get us off the hook. He also died to resurrect the person we were destined to be before sin distorted the image of God in us. And He doesn’t just set us free spiritually. He also sets us free emotionally and relationally and intellectually. We are held captive by so many things. We’re held captive by our imperfections and insecurities. We’re held captive by our guilt and anxiety. We’re held captive by expectations and lies and mistakes. Jesus died to set us free from all the above. … He sets us free to become who we were meant to be.” (Mark Batterson, Soulprint, p. 11).
We may be haunted by failure, overwhelmed with guilt, and limited by our mistakes, but in God’s kingdom, our deficiencies do not determine our destiny. Our God is a God of second chances. He knows who we are, but He also knows what we can become. The world may see a hardened, marred piece of granite; God sees a masterpiece.
God has a unique plan for your life, a destiny that is different from that of anyone who has ever lived. He wants to take you as you are and where you are, that He might remold you into something you could never be without Him. In the hands of the Master Craftsman, you too can discover there is no limit to what God can do when He finds a willing heart.