Throughout history when God’s people have had to endure injustice and hardships, we have clung to the promise that whatever happens is part of God’s plan for our good and His glory. The Bible reminds us that God, who has an eternal perspective, is refining us for His purpose.
However, when we are in the midst of disappointment and confusion, how can we trust that what is happening is really part of God’s plan, and not the result of random events? The big picture result may be God’s will, but what if He isn’t paying much attention to the nitty gritty details of my life?
The Bible is pretty clear about how much our Creator cares about the minutia in the lives of His creations.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.Matthew 10:29-31 (ESV)
It seems that God isn’t the sort of creative artist who is content to splash color on a canvas in hopes of a pleasing result. He’s more like the engineer who selects and combines his materials with great care for a specific purpose.
12-13 Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.1 Peter 4:11-13 (MSG)
Accepting that the ordeals of the moment are part of His refining process, I must ask myself what I am being honed and prepared for. How am I going to be used?
The possibilities fill me with a combination of hope and trepidation.
It’s hard to believe that our great Creator wants to use an ordinary person like me. However, if He cares about the very hairs on my head, strands which are constantly shed and renewed, and about the humblest of His creatures, then He might have plans for me, too.
Looked at from this perspective, our troubling times don’t seem quite so overwhelming. I can stop resisting and complaining and try to perceive how I’m being shaped and refined.
The grinding process of being honed may be unpleasant, but how exciting to contemplate becoming sharper and more useful to God.