This post begins with a partial repeat of a post I wrote on 9/8/14 titled, “Why All This Hammering and Cutting?” I’ll have more to say afterward. The post that’s repeated is about a visit Sharon and I had more than 6 years ago with a friend of ours who, after suffering a lifetime with Lupus, had been diagnosed with ALS.
Here is the partial repeat:
“Christians sometimes wonder why they have to suffer so much. And there are a whole flock of people making a good living convincing them that they don’t have to, that they should have everything they want, if only they had ‘faith.’
“Dear friends, some of you are suffering things I can’t begin to imagine. Over the Labor Day weekend, my wife and I went to visit a dear, dear sister who was recently diagnosed with ALS, after a lifetime of suffering with lupus, among other things. I think she blessed us with her cheerful spirit more than we blessed her. I can not imagine being completely unable to do ANYTHING for yourself, but having to depend on others for EVERYTHING, though, thankfully, she can still talk – and smile and laugh. [Note: she did get to the point where speech was taken from her before she died.]
“So, why suffering?
“If we could imagine a block of stone suddenly finding its voice, we might hear something like the following:
” ‘Oh, why all this hammering and cutting on me? This chipping and sanding and buffing? Why me?’
“The artist replies, ‘Be patient. There’s a beautiful statue inside you’.”
Now, we grant that there is no “beautiful statue,” no “divine spark” inside of us just waiting to be released or kindled, like so many would have us believe.
There’s no statue, true, but…
…for the believer, there’s something better….
That other post finishes like this:
God “doesn’t come to us and fix us up a little bit. He doesn’t just slap on a new coat of paint or put down a new carpet. He makes us a “new creation.” As in the original creation, He started with nothing, so in the new creation, He starts with nothing.
“And He will finish what He started. He chips, and cuts and hammers and buffs and polishes to get rid of what we are in order that we might see a little of what we are to become.
“Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is, 1 John 3:2.
You see, God has a master plan for His people, a blueprint. We only see a tiny, tiny portion of it. But He tells us a little about it in His Word, as we just saw. There is more.
According to Romans 8:29, it is God’s purpose and plan for His children to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
It’s hard to believe as we look in the mirror on the wall, or the mirror of the Word, but even as God said in the original creation, Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, and it was so, 1:9, 11, 15, 24, so He has said of the new creation, that His children are to be “conformed to the image of His Son,” and it will be so.
Death is just the final tap of the hammer.