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March 16, 2014

Michelangelo’s “Rebellious Slave” (Louvre), Photo by Yair Haklai (PD)

Those of you familiar with the perfection of Michelangelo’s “David” or “Pieta” may not know that he created a series of sculptures loosely referred to as the slaves, prisoners or captives.

Art critics argue over the merit of these – the central issue being whether Michelangelo intended them as finished works of art or not.  Details on these statues are vague, chisel marks still clearly visible.

The figures though are striking.  Incomplete, they struggle not only to free themselves from their chains, but from the very stone in which they are encased.

The Figure Within

Michelangelo’s entire approach to sculpture was to envision the figure within. He saw his role as first identifying that figure, then removing unnecessary elements to reveal the image present all along.

God works in much the same way with us.  Like a sculptor, He shapes us to an image only He can see.  Bit by bit, He removes unnecessary elements, always aware of the ultimate outcome.

The Sculpting Process

The process is not, however, painless.  Because of that, we wrestle with the Sculptor, attempting to impose our own will.  In dark moments, we rage at the chisel and the Sculptor, both.

God’s plans for us are always for good.  Though we may not understand His purpose (and may chafe at His timing), ultimately He promises to fashion us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Without God’s intervention, we like Michelangelo’s captives would remain bound.  Because of it, we are guaranteed freedom and a beauty beyond description.

Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day” (Gen. 32: 24).


From → Christian, Religion

  1. Michelangelo must have had a tremendous amount of patience to complete this work of art. I can only imagine the amount of patience God maintains with us throughout our existence. This I am thankful for…

    Great post and very well written. 🙂

  2. Planting Potatoes permalink

    good read!

  3. Nice to know that God is not finished with me yet. I am a priceless work of art in the hand of God. Meghan

    • I feel exactly this way! I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you (and anyone else lately). My mother is very ill. But thank you for the comment. I’m always glad when I strike a chord.



  4. Beautiful post. We are all still a “work in progress”. Thanks. I will be praying for your mom.

  5. Thank you for your kind words and for your prayers.

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