“… we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame …” Romans 5:3b-5 (ESV)
Do you like getting your hands dirty?
My middle child certainly does. A naturalist at heart, she digs up and collects all manner of grimy stones and pebbles, or “special jewels” as she calls them.
So, when last Christmas approached, my husband and I thought a rock-polishing kit would make the perfect gift for her. With youthful enthusiasm, she tore into the box and pulled out each part. Her joy warmed our hearts — until we began to read the instructions.
A quick scan brought the painful truth to light: This was going to be a process.
Our daughter held the rough rocks in her hands while we pulled out the dark metal container that would house them for weeks on end. Carefully following the directions, we tossed the rocks into the container, added some water, and shook in a packet of gritty, black sand.
Then, we waited.
Hour after hour, day after day, these rocks spun and clunked around in that container. For weeks, they tumbled in the dark, surrounded by cold, muddy water. Every time I went to the basement, I could hear them grating around — quite honestly, the sound grated on my nerves!
And yet … when the spinning came to an end, and we’d washed the sullied water away, out came sparkling, beautiful jewels. Our daughter squealed with delight!
I rolled those jewels around in my hand, and deep emotion rumbled in my soul. I’ve spent more than a few seasons feeling like one of those rocks, endlessly tumbling in the dark and the grit. I wonder if you have too.
The weeks and months roll by and still the marriage grates at you.
The difficult job — or lack thereof — sands down your nerves.
Your child’s illness cuts places in your heart that feel like they’ll never heal.
The bitter grittiness of sheer loss tears at every inch of your soul.
And you wish for all the world that the pain would go away. When we’re tumbling in the dark, covered in grit and mud, it feels impossible to see any glimmer of purpose and hope.
But oh, dear one, God is up to something so purposeful in the midst of hard places! The pain that feels useless? It is anything but in His Kingdom. In Romans 5, Paul encourages us with the truth of what all that suffering is accomplishing in our lives:
“… we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame …” (Romans 5:3-5).
Not a single ounce of your suffering is wasted in God’s economy. Our enemy works to grind us down with gritty circumstances, but God uses the same circumstances to forge endurance and character in us if we’re willing. Like those rocks, the grittiness doesn’t remove beauty in us — it reveals it.
And when it does, a stunning, steadfast hope bursts forth. This hope stands secure and will never fail or leave us hanging. What an incredible promise!
You may feel stuck in an endless cycle of grittiness, but take heart: God is polishing you. In the dark, He is fashioning you into a beautiful jewel, ready to reflect His image and walk into your future with hope.
Oh, that we would not despise the grit, mud and darkness, for these are the divine tools our Father uses to create in us a beauty that never fades. May we keep the faith, knowing that when all the muck is washed away, it will have achieved for us a “glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17, ESV).
Heavenly Father, thank You for using the painful grit in our lives to create beauty. Help us to trust You with our hearts as we struggle through the process of refinement. Create in us a hope that cannot be shaken! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (NIV)
1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (ESV)
Our new canvas prints are here, beautifully designed to remind you of Truth when you need it most! When you are tired of waiting and ready to move on, our Purpose canvas reminds you there is purpose in this season. When you are overwhelmed and need peace, our Trust canvas reminds you to pray, Jesus, replace my anxious thoughts with Your Truth. When fear is trying to take over, our Courage canvas reminds you to be brave — God is in control. Shop them all today!
For more encouragement, visit Meredith Carr’s blog, and grab a free copy of the resource, 5 Scriptures to Pray When Life Moves from Pretty to Gritty.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
What is the “grit” in your life right now? Can you see glimpses of beauty as a result? If you’re willing, share with us in the comments!
© 2020 by Meredith Houston Carr. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries believes the Bible is clear about the sins of racism and injustice. To read our full response, click here.