Every living thing, even every non-living, inanimate object on this planet goes through some sort of process. Every organism is created and born; it lives, then dies. Goods are assembled into finished products. Some things go through fascinating, yet sometimes, extreme processes in order to become what they are meant to be.
Here’s a good example for you:
Diamonds are one of the most precious commodities in our society, right? These sparkling precious stones are sold for anything from hundreds to millions of dollars. But a diamond does not start out that way. A diamond is nothing more than a lump of coal that endured extreme pressure deep within the earth. Even then, the gem requires a further process of careful cutting and polishing to make it truly shine.
If you have ever prayed for God to use you, then I can pretty much guarantee that at some point, you’re going to go through a similar process. In order for God to use you, He has to make you into what He wants to use.
Clay must be molded, shaped, and baked before it can become a useful vessel. Oil must be ground and pressed from olives before it can be used. Caterpillars must be broken down within their cocoons to become butterflies. And we, like that lump of coal, have to go through a painful but necessary process in order to become something beautiful and valuable. When we are thrust into trials or setbacks that feel like they’re going to crush us, we cry, “Why me, God? Why are you doing this to me?”. But what we don’t realize is that that pressure isn’t crushing us... it’s making us.
1 Peter 1:6-9 says:
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love...”
The fire (the painful struggle) is refining our faith and, therefore, us. It’s proving us and making us strong.
I know the feeling of being in the midst of the process. That feeling of being torn apart, broken down, ground out… You name it, I’ve felt it. I don’t say any of this to gain pity or be dramatic. I’m simply endeavoring to be honest and real. So believe me when I say the past few years of my life have seemed like a constant struggle for survival. Just when I thought I had my feet underneath me, something else would happen to knock me back down. There have been countless private meltdowns and tearful church altar calls. I have asked that question, “Why me, God?” too many times. However, recently I was reminded of something a person dear to my heart once told me:
“Great futures don’t come through easy presents.”
It’s never going to come on a silver platter, laid out before you without struggle. Great futures, just like diamonds, only come through a process. And if we want that great future, we must endure that process through to the end.
Slowly, God has taught me (and is still teaching me) that there is a point to the process. He hasn’t forsaken me. He isn’t punishing me. He isn’t doing all this just to watch me squirm. As with anything He does, He has a purpose for it. It isn’t always easy to trust in that, but I’m getting better at it every day.
Are you, too, stuck in that place where you feel like you’re being torn apart into a million pieces? Does it feel like everyone else around you has it so easy, but you can’t seem to ever get ahead? Well, my friend, be encouraged. Because, if you’re living for God and striving to be what He wants you to be, odds are that that fiery trial you’re navigating means your faith is being proven. Your spirit is being strengthened. God is making you into the vessel He wants to use. Take heart, take a breath, and rest in that knowledge.