Shining or Shellacked?

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liquid lacquer

Exiting the lacquerware workshop, I had a much greater appreciation for the art than upon arrival. 


When I’d entered, all I could see were bowls and boxes – some black, some red – all begging for purchase. 


But as I passed the showroom and entered into the studio rooms, I began to understand the time spent on each lacquered piece. 


Harvesting the lacquer itself is quite the chore. Drained from the sap of Asian lacquer trees, each tree cannot be harvested until it is at least eight to ten years old.


Once mature, the process of notching the bark isn’t a once and done task. Specific, multiple cuts on each tree must be made over the coarse of 108 days. Only then is the sap ready to be heated and strained for use. 


I was surprised how many times coats of this thick liquid was applied to each individual piece. And then shocked at the length of drying time in between each coat. 


We passed through room after room of artisans painting their own coat of liquid lacquer to a piece which had been coated previously just days before. Most objects get six to 30 coats to achieve the desired hardness.  Even a simple bowl takes about three years to complete.


Something about the lacquering process made me think about my friends who do not know Truth. They too have been through a deliberate and painstaking process to keep them shellacked. The evil one has used the paintbrush of life to apply coat after blinding coat to keep them from seeing pure Truth. 


Month by month, they become “darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God…because of the hardness of their heart.” (Ephesians 4:17-18)


Granted, a lacquerware bowl or cup is a thing of beauty – created by skilled artisans with century old techniques. Yet, the lacquering of the evil one doesn’t result is such grandeur. 


Instead, his outcome is just a hardened heart: calloused, stubborn and devoid of spiritual truth. After all, his aim is to destroy all that he touches (John 10:10).


Isn’t it time we intervene? 


Allow the Father to bring to mind someone who has been shellacked into believing lies. Then pray something like the following prayer over their life:


Holy Father,


Be released into __________’s life. As You walk into room after room of their history, You can see the incidents that the evil one has used to cover them from Truth. (List some of those experiences that you know here before the Father.) All of these things added layer upon layer of darkness into (his/her) life. 


Their shell seems quite hardened from my perspective. Yet this is the very type of challenge that You specialize in. After all, the whole reason You came to earth was to peel away sin and to dissolve the works of the devil (1 John 3:5,8). 


I can’t begin to understand the process of melting away ______’s hardened surface. But I do believe that Your ways are far greater than my eye can see or my heart can imagine (1 Corinthians 2:9). You are able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that I can ask, so please go for it within this precious life (Ephesians 3:20). You love them far more than I ever could. In fact, it is Your Love that will strip through and bubble away their multi-layered sins (1 Peter 4:8). 


Remind me to pray for _______ often. In the Name of the Master Craftsman, I pray. Amen.


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