8/26/09

Sandpaper Trials

Trials don't last forever, not even the really bad ones that eventually take your life (such as battling a terminal illness). Trials have a purpose to make us a better place for God's Spirit to dwell and a more beautiful bride for Christ. Some are super painful and others are just moments that rub us the wrong way until we learn a lesson or an attitude.

Recently, I've been feeling a strong desire to spend time in God's word. The only problem with that is if done correctly with study and prayer, will often put you through a trial. Not a "bad things are happening" trial, but rather a polishing type of trial.

I had a rough couple of days with not doing or saying things the right way, and laying in bed sleepless one night I finally realized that it I felt like I was being sandpapered by the Holy Spirit. It was like a was a rough board that was being sanded with grade #80 to get off some splinters and clean me up.

Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." This sharpening, or sanding, is done by other people in our lives, usually a spouse, but sometimes our children and friends. The thing about sanding is it doesn't feel good; I was feeling raw and on edge during my sandpapery trial, but others may feel exposed, defensive, or emotionally charged.

It is interesting to note that if the wrong type of sandpaper grade is chosen you can either end up gouging non-repairable grooves in your project, or sanding forever and getting nothing accomplished. That is why if it is a trial from God, it will be exactly what we need. And did you know that sometimes fine grit sandpaper is used to "roughen" down glossy paint in preparation for applying more paint? It is not always that we are particularly ugly and need sanding, but sometimes we can looks quite nice and God sees the potential of applying second coat of "paint."

Once I realized what was happening, my perspective changed. Instead of feeling really upset at those who were "trying" me, I began to ask God to show me what His plan in all of it was. I gave up some of my ideals and prayed for wisdom and strength. Our "Sandpaper" trials won't end as long as we have imperfections, but it will be less irritating to our spirit when we surrender to our Maker's hand.

"In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." Ephesians 2:21-22

1 comment:

madeforjoy said...

I love this picture you've given this experience of God's refining. Really wonderful illustration! Thanks!