Friday, April 1, 2016
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Our grandson loves to take home souvenirs from visits to our house: Rocks, shiny rocks, colorful rocks. So why not a rock tumbler for him for Christmas? Today, it's running full speed ahead tumbling rocks. For three weeks! For goodness sake, how long does it take to turn a blah rock into a beautiful rock anyway?
His mom explained that the mineral magic takes three different week-long processes. Clean them and remove the rough edges. Then attack them with this sandy grit to start shining them. Finally, another week of bombardment just to make them beautiful.
As I'm listening to all this, I'm thinking, "You know, this sounds familiar. I think I've lived this. Knocked around. Blasted. Spinning in life's 'rock tumbler.'" I actually see in my grandson's spinning rocks some of the meaning in my rocky times.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why Your World is Getting Rocked."
Because God rocks my world to get my attention. Yeah, that's what He does, using turbulence to remove some rough edges, some hard knocks that get rid of accumulated dirt, abrasive times that end up bringing out something beautiful.
Never a process I enjoy (if those tumbling rocks could only talk...). But a result that I'll appreciate for the rest of my life. If, when I get the pain, I get the point. Like the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:14, "When times are good, be happy, but when times are bad, consider."
The times of upheaval have made me ask questions that I never would ask otherwise. About life's two lists; the things that really matter and the things that really don't. The push and the pull of my life? Well, they tend to jumble those lists until I'm getting hammered.
That's when I start asking, "What really matters and what really doesn't?" Years ago, a crisis in a loved one's health shook me to the core. Result? I reexamined my priorities and I realized anew the treasure that person is. Trouble has also forced me to ask, "What's the problem here?" Until I realize it's me and I face sin that I've managed to ignore.
God is in the business of making us "rough rocks" into the polished stones that we're meant to be. And it often takes a rugged process to produce that beautiful result. Romans 5:4, our word for today from the Word of God in the New Living says, "Problems and trials...develop strength of character" If I'd never hurt, I would have never developed compassion. If pain hadn't broken me open, I'd never have let God in to touch the deepest corners of my soul.
As Job, who is the poster child for unbearable suffering, said to God after his ordeal: "My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You" (Job 42:5). It's in the depths of the valley that we experience God's love and God's power as never before. Psalm 34:18,"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted"
Bible folks love to quote Romans 8:28, "All things work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose." The next verse defines "His purpose." That we "be conformed to the likeness of His Son." God sends, God allows only what will make me more like Jesus if I pursue His purpose in my pain.
For a boy's rough rocks – for God's "rough rocks" to become polished stones takes time and takes turbulence. And the harder the rock, the longer it needs to keep spinning. I get that. I may not enjoy the ride in the "rock tumbler" of God, but you know what? I'm going to love the result.