I enjoy taking pictures the same way an 8-year-old “artist” enjoys sidewalk chalk.  But as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fascination with old cameras. They remind me of some of my own heritage, and they fascinate me as I imagine where they have traveled and what they have captured on film, or lately on disk.  I’ve often said to myself, maybe one day I’d like to add a few to my own old camera collection.

Well.  This weekend the motive, means and opportunity all converged as we travelled to my son’s house for Easter weekend, and I came home with these 23 treasures.  Most of them are in the “junk” category.  But I did pick up a really old (still working) movie projector, a circa-1900 Conley wooden box camera, and a couple of Kodaks from the 1950s.

brownieOne of the really fun additions was this Brownie Starflex complete kit.  It was made sometime between 1957 and 1964.  When I got it home I made an important discovery:  It still had a roll of 127 film in it.

Oh, the possibilities.  Maybe there are shots for the 1968 HemisFair in San Antonio.  Or from that trip to Disneyland sometime in the 70s.  Maybe there are shots from some Easter Sunday, with the family in their finest before the deviled eggs and ham worked their magic.  Or maybe we’ll find scenes from Uncle Earl’s funeral, or Aunt May’s blooming backyard.

filmOh, how sad.  That an image was captured some time ago, and remains to this day undeveloped.  No sadder, I suppose, than the three rolls of undeveloped 35mm film I’ve carted from house to house for years and never had developed – and have no explanation as to why.  I have absolutely no memory as to what’s on them.

Yes, yes, I plan to do something about it.  I repent.

But if you think that’s a little sad, let me tell you about another often-undeveloped image.  The minute you and I said yes to the gospel and trusted Christ to save us, a permanent impression of Jesus Christ – His character, His Likeness – is made in our hearts.

Time for the development to begin.  And it takes a lifetime for that beauty to be brought out in us.  It also takes a special “development” process.  During that process, God uses special seasons, certain “development agents,” and yes, time.

The Darkroom

Through the years I have had friends who were either professional photographers or professional photo processors.  It has fascinated me to go behind the scenes and see the process of development.  Without a doubt, the most important piece of the process was the time spent in the darkroom.  The hours spent there make the difference between a mediocre picture and a superior one.  The photo, of course, had been taken in the studio, where the subject was indelibly impressed upon the sensitive film the instant it was exposed to the light.  But that was just the beginning.  The film then had to undergo the careful process of development, which required darkness, the right temperatures, special chemicals, and time.  Only through this procedure could the impression on the film be “brought out” and printed.

If pictures could talk, they’d all be hollering.  “This isn’t what I signed up for!  I’m made for someone’s wall, or to decorate someone’s life!  I was created for light and beauty!  Not to be baptized in harsh chemicals and left hanging in the dark!”  Of course, they eventually get there, but not without the watchful diligence of the developer.

Sound familiar?  It should, because we all have our own Master Developer.  The Holy Spirit has begun the transformation process of changing us from what we were into who we are in Christ.  He sees an image in you that you have yet to experience, except in shadow form.  And he knows – He knows – what it takes to finish the job.

And inevitably, He takes us to the darkroom.   Digital technology may have made that a thing of the past for photos.  But not for character.

Have you spent time in the darkroom lately?  Had any experiences that left you feeling confused, useless, and – well, hung out to dry?

The varieties of darkroom experiences are endless – layoffs, grief, disappointments, waiting seasons, delays, unanswered prayer – and that’s just for starters.  But I have good news for you.  God loves you enough to have a plan, and his plans for you are precious.  And one day your Master Developer will have finished the job, and you will be revealed as His work of art (Ephesians 2:10).

Yes, you were created to be a reflection of His light.  And you can’t begin to imagine the beauty you will display.  Only then will you see the true worth of the darkroom.

I don’t know what, if anything, the developer will reveal from those old rolls of film.  But I do have an idea what your Developer is doing in you.  Don’t waste the glory of your undeveloped potential!  Like the film that has yet to complete its journey, you carry a beautiful image just waiting to be revealed to the world.  Learn to embrace the process.  Say yes, even to the darkroom.  In doing so, you will carry a far more eternal reflection of glory than a few snapshots from an old vacation.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha Orlando April 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm

A fantastic analogy, Andy! Yes, we all have to enter the darkroom at times, but knowing God is doing the processing makes it all worth it. 🙂
Blessings to you!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..“When Love Takes You In . . .”

Todd Thompson April 10, 2013 at 10:38 am

Andy – good stuff. Jealous of your old camera collection.

Hey, thought you may enjoy this website if you’ve not already seen it.

Hope all is well with you!



Andy Wood April 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Thanks, Martha! Isn’t it good to know He’s the ultimate processor?

Andy Wood April 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Hi Todd,

Love the link! Totally fascinating. I tried to get that roll of 127 film developed locally and that was a bust. But I did give them a couple of old rolls of 35mm I had never had processed. Can’t wait to see what I’ve forgotten I took!

Thanks for stopping by – come back soon!

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