The other day I was talking to a brother in Christ who had the signs of weathering on his soul and frame. Like me, he has been widowed. He has tasted both triumph and defeat. Yet, like me, he is still standing. Ready to take on the next challenge or challenger as the case may be, while relentlessly advancing the kingdom of God.
You see, it takes a steely resolve to stand strong in these days, and all the more in the days soon upon us. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
As I listened to my friend speak, I saw an image that spoke volumes to me and I felt to share it with you today. I saw him as a stone. (Didn’t Peter say we are “living stones”?) Not just any stone mind you, but more like what you see below…
It is a Purple Uruguay Amethyst (my wife's birthstone). The amazing thing about these stones is that they are rough and unattractive on the outside.
They were formed out of great upheaval (volcanic activity) and hollowed out. But that hollowing out that came as a result of the fiery trials, created a space within for amazing beauty to be formed over time.
That beauty is a result of silica, iron and water working together with gamma rays which emit non-visible light. Let's look very briefly at these four components...
This is basically, sand and God compared Abraham's future seed to sand. According to Galatians 3: 29, "If
you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." In addition to silica, there must be something else very important...
Here's something you may not know... In Psalm 105:18, speaking of Joseph's time in prison, the Young's Literal Translation reads... "They have afflicted with fetters his feet, Iron hath entered his soul." As I said above, we need a steely resolve to stand strong in these days. A iron-like strength of character was forged in Joseph, entering his soul during his wrongful incarceration where no one knew his name or cared about his plight.
But it was all preparation for an extraordinary work ahead that he could not foresee.
Are you getting this? Can you perhaps relate?
Then there is a third element necessary to form this royal purple crystal inside the stone...
Water is a type of two things in Scripture... Ephesians 5:26 talks about the "washing of the water by the Word" and Jesus said those who believed in Him would receive the Holy Spirit which would flow out of them like rivers of living water. (John 7:38-39) After we have been hollowed out by the fiery trials of life, and Christ comes into our heart, the interaction of the water, sand and iron go through one more process...
Enter your text here...W
Gamma rays are a form of non-visible light that technically speaking, enable us to observe known objects in a new way, and they reveal phenomena never before seen.
Imagine that... an invisible form of light interacts with sand, water and iron to change its appearance into something beautiful. Metaphorically speaking, once you have gone through your current trial, if you allow the Word to have its work, you will not only be different, but you will see things much differently as well.
Isn't that what happens after you emerge out of some difficult situation? You see it (and life) from an entirely new light or perspective.
While others may see you as a rough and unworthy rock, God is at work on the inside forming the most beautiful and totally unique work for His purpose and glory. Don't let others define you as unworthy or insignificant. They haven't been on your journey. They don't know how you've been hollowed out and how God is remaking you on the inside to be a vessel of honor "for the display of His splendor" (Isaiah 61:3 NIV)
You, like me, are a work in progress. As it says in James 1:2-4 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
Stay strong. Pursue God. Ignore the naysayers.
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