As part of our family vacation in the Memphis area we all took a tour the other day of the Gibson guitar factory. It was an amazing experience as we witnessed artisans and craftsmen take blocks of wood and sheets of veneer and fashion them into exceptional instruments. We saw them shape the body in presses, carve the necks, fashion the frets, inlay the design elements, paint the instrument and wire the pick-ups. Each person who touched the guitar during the three week process of manufacturing it seemingly took pride in the process. Finally, the finished product was revealed. However, Jim Ed (our tour guide) cautioned, “If, at the end of the production line there is damage or flaws that cannot be repaired, we will run the entire thing through our 24-inch band saw.” Gibson was so concerned with perfection that they would rather destroy a $2,500 instrument (based on the guitars on sale in the ‘gift shop’) than to distribute an imperfect product.
In contrast, there was a front-page article in my mother’s newspaper (The Collierville Weekly) describing a beauty pageant that took place in the suburbs of Memphis last weekend. Called “The Miss Princess Pageant”, this talent and beauty contest, in its second year, has the goal of giving girls with special needs a day to celebrate just how wonderful they are. Every young lady who participated got their hair and makeup done (free of charge, thanks to a local salon) and were able to perform on stage whatever they desire. One of the girls interviewed for the paper, while having cerebral palsy and epilepsy, beamed as she performed her beauty routine. There were awards given and pictures taken, all to express in word and deed that these princesses are, in a word, perfect.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
Every one of us reading this should rejoice that God’s attitude toward His creation is less like the guitar-maker and more like the pageant organizers. Where would we be if one irreparable flaw or blemish made us unsuitable for use? What hope would we have if any visible or internal damage meant a date with the cosmic band-saw? Would any of us actually pass the quality control tests to go beyond the factory? After even a cursory examination, it is doubtful any of us would make music. But God is not a quality control expert, but a loving and compassionate father; He regularly holds pageants to celebrate the glory of His creation. He does not see chromosomal anomalies or physical incapacities as imperfections but as aspects of beauty few appreciate and recognize. What the world sees as flaws and imperfections God embraces as part of the uniqueness of His creation. He knows that some of the sweetest songs come from the places of brokenness and difference.
Take time to praise Him because you were fearfully and wonderfully made – you are a beautiful instrument, a work of art. I will still dream about playing a Gibson guitar but I am grateful that I have been fashioned by God…and so have you, beautiful.