I was fascinated when I first heard what Michelangelo is reported to have said when asked how he crafted the masterpiece that is his David. He explained that he “chipped away at all that wasn’t David.” He said that he looked at the block of marble and saw in it the completed David; all he had to do was to “hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”
This seems to me a good description for how God sees us. God looks at us and sees not what we are at this moment. Rather, he sees what we can be with his grace; he sees the potential for how he can shape us.
We don’t tend to see the way God does. We look and see people and things as they are. So we see limits. We see imperfections. We see flaws. We see what currently is and mistakenly think that is all it can be.
We need to remind ourselves of what can be accomplished with the grace of God. (A good person to reflect on for such a reminder is Peter; compare the bumbling person who tries to persuade Jesus away from his mission and then denies him three times, to the person in Acts who preaches forcefully and heals cripples.) And we need to more and more try to see as God sees. To see the potential not the limits. To see what can be, not what is. To see the David hidden inside of the marble, so that we can chip away all that is not David and reveal the rest.