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?

His mom explained that the mineral magic takes three different week-long processes. Clean them and remove the rough edges. Then attack them with sandy grit to start shining them. Finally, another week of bombardment to make them beautiful.

As I'm listening to all this, I'm thinking - this all sounds familiar. I think I've lived this. Knocked around. Blasted. Spinning in life's "rock tumbler." And I see in my grandson's spinning rocks some of the meaning in my rocky times.

Because God rocks my world to get my attention. Using turbulence to remove some rough edges. Hard knocks to get rid of accumulated dirt. Abrasive times to bring out something beautiful.

Never a process I enjoy (if those tumbling rocks could talk...). But a result I'll appreciate for the rest of my life. If, when I get the pain, I get the point. Like the Bible says, "When times are good, be happy, but when times are bad, consider" (Ecclesiastes 7:14).

The times of upheaval have made me ask questions I would never ask otherwise. About life's two lists. The things that really matter and the things that really don't. The push and pull of my life tends to jumble those lists. Until I'm getting hammered.

That's when I start asking, "What really matters - and what doesn't?" Years ago, a crisis in a loved one's health shook me to the core. Result: I reexamined my priorities - and 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 the sin I've managed to ignore.

God is in the business of making us "rough rocks" into the polished stones we're meant to be. And it often takes a rugged process to produce that beautiful result. "Problems and trials...develop strength of character" (Romans 5:4 - NLT).

If I'd never hurt, I'd never have 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, 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 is in the depths of the valley that we experience God's love and God's power as never before. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted" (Psalm 34:18).

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 and 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 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 I'm going to love the result.




Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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