Trusting that Our Father knows best Print E-mail
Everyday Faith
Thursday, Jun. 15, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

Everyday Faith column by Julianne Nornberg

There is a crackle glass bowl in our living room, a decorative bowl we set out for special occasions. It's stunning, with hand-painted designs in bright colors.

Running through the entire piece are tiny cracks, hairline fissures in the clear glass that forms the bowl. When light shines through it, however, those cracks make the bowl shine more magnificently than before.

God's grace shines through 'cracks' in our lives

Each of us is this bowl, this intricate decorative vessel designed by God. But we have these cracks, these fissures, these seeming mistakes through which God's grace nevertheless shines.

Are these "cracks" God-designed? We trust that God has created each of us just the way we are in order to take care of our loved ones, to spread God's word, to share God's love with all those around us.

Perhaps we cannot see the beauty that emanates from the cracks that mark up our bowls. But, as God's grace is more powerful than anything we can envision, it will shine through the fragile glass vessels we are, fissures and all.

For me, the fissures in my own glass bowl seem ever more apparent than the overall beauty. Far too often I dwell on the mistakes, the fissures, the places the vessel seems to "come apart."

God has a purpose for us

But God has me here for a specific purpose -- to be a mother to my children, a wife to my husband, a daughter to my parents, a sister to my siblings -- and to bring His love to them in whatever situation life finds them.

In each of us – His artistic masterpieces -- God has conducted a symphony of characteristics and talents and ways about us that allow His light to shine through for different people.

Perhaps we can't see that, perhaps we can't see His plan, but we do know that He is behind it and we need to trust, to learn, to love, and to know that His glory will shine through these fissures, to make His vessels even more beautiful.

Appreciation for our fathers

That's what I think of most this Father's Day, when I honor and thank my own father, a man of morals and justice, of strength and tenacity, of hard work and loyalty. It was always "Dad's way or the highway" and yet that's what made us children strong. Industriousness, honesty, fortitude, obedience, dedication to family -- these were the things he valued, often passed on to us through the fissures in his bowl.

Dad's heart is full of compassion, though his stern exterior rarely revealed that until his older years. One memory sticks in my mind as Dad and I watched our dog, Fritz, dying in his final breaths. Fritz, who throughout his life had melted Dad's sternness with his irresistible puppy-dog eyes and eaten dozens of pancakes in midair after begging at Dad's elbow, lay before us in his final minutes.

In an unprecedented moment, Dad squeezed my shoulders in a huge hug, a symbolic gesture illustrating for me the immeasurable love he held not just for our pet, but for all our family. Through all the discipline and rules and obedience – through all the fissures -- God's love showed through. And I knew, in that one moment of shared sorrow, that God loved me, unconditionally and profoundly, through my father here on earth.

Trust in God's goodness

How often do we let our fissures get in the way of God's plan for us and for our loved ones? How often do we get caught up in the idea that we are failures in our roles as father or mother or sister or brother? We must remind ourselves and our children that God is so much greater than our fissures, so much greater than our mistakes.

And so great is God that He can show through our mistakes into ways of salvation and goodness for others, unbeknownst to us. So, trust in God's goodness and in His plan with all your heart. He alone can see the final product, the bowl, His masterpiece. Our job is to not get in God's way. Let Him, the Creator, lovingly direct all our plans, like all good fathers.

"In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths" (Proverbs 3:6). This June as we honor our fathers here on Earth, let us also turn trustingly to Our Father in heaven who takes care of us all and oversees who we are becoming -- His magnificent vessels, with cracks and all.


Julianne Nornberg, mother of four young children, is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee.