A few months ago I had a day when I felt so pounded by life — having arguments with people I love and struggles in so many other areas — that I sent out a frantic prayer request to a close circle of friends. Here is a part of what I wrote:
I sat on our back deck today weeping, feeling so beat up and lost.
“Lord, I fear that I’m just being pulverized and all that’s left of me will be dust,” I cried — and He gave me the image of a toy rock tumbler we had years ago, with ugly stones being made beautiful while tumbling in grit and water.
“Your tears are the water needed for this,” He whispered, and I wished it wasn’t so.
I’m going to be tumbled to nothingness — I’m quite sure. And it’s not one thing — it is so many, on so many fronts. I’m surrounded by grit and abrasiveness.
I know this probably doesn’t make sense, but can you please pray for me?
A week or so later, I was working to memorize Isaiah 54. Isaiah 54:11-12 reads,
“O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
and lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of agate,
your gates of carbuncles,
and all your wall of precious stones.
I looked up carbuncles. They sound like something painful and ugly, and, it turns out, they are. From webmd.com
A carbuncle is a red, swollen, and painful cluster of boils that are connected to each other under the skin…. Filled with pus — a mixture of old and white blood cells, bacteria, and dead skin cells — carbuncles must drain before they’re able to heal. Carbuncles are more likely than boils to leave scars.
But the Biblical carbuncle is an unfaceted gemstone like a garnet. These are the stones that are polished in the ocean (or a rock tumbler) to a rich red.
The grit in our lives may be painful and hard to bear. We may have wounds that need to drain before they heal. We may even have scars.
But God is using the grit in our lives to polish us to a luster we cannot even fathom. We are but storm-tossed gems in the sea of life.
Thanks be to God.