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Living Lampstands

A woman was sharing her life story in front of the church auditorium.  She shared her heart wrenching journey of losing her one and only child to addiction.  She was vulnerable, real and beautiful.  She openly invited us into her journey of love, pain, disappointment, hope, brokenness and dependence on God.

She was a lampstand made from hammered gold.

The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to Aaron and say to him, ‘When you set up the seven lamps (in the Holy Place in the tabernacle. Ex 25:37), they are to light the area in front of the lampstand.’ …..This is how the lampstand was made: It was made of hammered gold–from its base to its blossoms. The lampstand was made exactly like the pattern the LORD had shown Moses.” Numbers 8:1,4.

Jane is a living lampstand who chose to face us and shed light on the presence of God in the midst of her pain and grief and life that continues after such devastation.  She was adorned with strength and beauty. Her light showcased the sovereignty of God.  That light illuminated the truth that we are mere clay in the potter’s hands.  Who are we to argue with God? Romans 9:16-21

My brief and simple research reveals that the process of hammered gold involves fire, stretching, isolation, pounding and shaping in the hand of an artesian.  Dare I assume that her life has encountered all mentioned?  As Jane shed light on the greatness of God, we saw a lovely hammered gold candlestick, embellished with innate blossoms.

Some other living lampstands come to mind.  I think of Joni Eareckson Tada who became a paraplegic at the age of 16.  She has shined her light to millions of people for 56 years and counting.

Other more unrenowned lampstands shine their light in their smaller, personal circles. Nevertheless they too are hammered golden lampstands. The couple who craves a family and in their bareness, wrestle and rest in the mystery that God is still good.  Or the ones who daily endure chronic illness and yet shine the light of joy or peace because of The Giver of Life. Or the faithful servant of God who is now bedridden and is determined to trust that God is present and good and real and worthy of praise.

The list of living lampstands is endless.

Who do you think of? 

Sometimes our hammering is in the helpless watching, as loved ones continue to deeply suffer.

I’m convinced that every bit of suffering has potential for beauty.  We will see some beauty this side of heaven.  Other beauty will remain a mystery until we see our Jesus face to face. But I am convinced He does not waste our pain.

Our salvation started with hammered gold. Jesus suffering enables us to embrace the beautiful gift of salvation. Your solid base has already been pounded out by the hammering work done on the cross.  And He invites us to share in His suffering, to bring even more beauty out of yet more hammering. I choose to believe the Great Artesian has a vision of beauty, strength and purpose for every amount of suffering as confusing as it may feel during the hammering.

May the God of hope enable you to rest in the mysteries of cancer, divorce, illness, dementia, loss, disappointment, disabilities, betrayal or injustice.  The list is inexhaustible. And in the midst of that list, may you remember that you are God’s workmanship, to do good works that have been prepared in advance for you to do, Ephesians 2:10.  Good works to be done in perhaps a very dark and confusing corner that He has strategically placed you.

I’ve heard it said that hammered gold is in danger of becoming a lost art. May it not be so in our faith walk as Christ followers!

May we trust the Great Artesian, who is always at work!  John 5:17 May you and I embrace and endure the fire, stretching, isolation, pounding, shaping or watching. And as you endure the process, fellow lampstand, may you stand tall in elegant strength and overflow with the light of God’s presence.  May your light shine ever so brightly, as you trust that He indeed is the Potter and we are the clay; the great artisan with a vision and a purpose.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him. So that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

God does the filling and overflowing.

Lynn Jackson
Thrive Leadership Foundation