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Marlene’s Meditations

The C-Clamps of Life

By Marlene Houk for Blue Ridge Christian News –

Burke County


Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2


A C-Clamp fits the description of a useful tool that belongs in every carpenter’s toolbox. The large threaded screw at the bottom of the C extends through its hole as the woodworker winds it upward. Typically, lumber or other objects are placed between the screw and a worktable. As the screw tightens, the C-clamp enables the wood to remain stationary so that the artisan can use his tools to produce a beautiful project.

My daughter and I recently became human C-clamps when my husband finished a laundry room project. We needed a shelf above the washer and dryer, but the wire-coated rack required extra support where it met the wall. He used a fifty-inch board and wanted to route it for a finished look. But using a freehand router required it to be stationary while he routed a lovely edge. Asking us to lean our weight upon both ends provided support and enabled the builder to do his best work.

As the wood curls fell softly on hands and shoes, a spiritual truth dawned. Sometimes, we, as Christians, need to hold firmly to our sisters and brothers as the Master Carpenter applies life’s storms to carve splendid finishes to their faith. The Father lovingly touches His children constantly, much like my husband runs his fingers up and down the wood, affirming its perfection. God is present in our trials, smoothing the tears from our cheeks and gathering them for future glory. He is finishing our faith so that others can see His marvelous work in us. The router of life’s circumstances bites into the edges of our unfinished lives, and the high-pitched whine can terrify us. But no sorrow is wasted as He finishes our faith to a golden sheen, and others want to know who could produce such priceless work.

The wood moved underneath my hands, but I clamped harder, determined to help in this work of crafting an excellent and practical piece. Leaning into the process, friends and family drifted to mind. I determined to hold on tight to them in love, knowing that God’s presence and superb work would be completed in them just as the Bible promises.

When the router of life’s storms touches your friend, hold firmly to them as the Master Carpenter shapes their faith into a glorious tribute to Him.

PS: While writing this article, we again became C-clamps. Excited by his success with the shelf project, he began to craft a small board to hold pottery bowls. But this time my Sunday clothes seemed to prevent me. And another truth occurred to me. When friends need us to hold them firmly as their faith is fashioned, we may have on our Sunday-best and perhaps do not realize that we are focusing on religion rather than restoration. I pray that our eyes open to others’ storms, regardless of preplanned days.