“It hurts, God. Please make it stop.”
Have you said those words? I know I have. If you have been thinking through theological matters for very long at all, you have probably considered the metaphor that God is chiseling away at you, an ordinary stone, until you become the work of art he sees in you. We tend not to like this metaphor. Being chiseled is an act of pain, and we do NOT like pain!
I came across a poem in the devotional book StreamsIn The Desert, on the day of September 1. This poem is a request to God for him to not stop chiseling, but to finish his work.
In the still air the music lies unheard;In the rough marble beauty hides unseen;To make the music and the beauty needsThe master's touch, the sculptor's chisel keen.Great Master, touch us with Your skillful hands;Let not the music that is in us die!Great Sculptor, hew and polish us; nor let, Hidden and lost, Your form within us lie!
I want to have sufficient faith to be there. To be at the place where I ask God for more painful chiseling, because I have realized that my insufficiency needs to be changed.
In Ephesians 1:3-14, we see that God has had a plan for us since before the planet was built. A glorious plan. One that included us, one in which we were hand-picked.
His plan for me has been in place since the beginning, and is taking place before my very eyes. But some parts of the plan that are in my future are parts I am not yet ready for. I am being readied. However, my growth requires pain, the pain of being chiseled. If I can react against this pain not with anger, but with humility, then my faith will grow stronger.
It is not an indictment against God that His plan includes pain; it is instead a sign of how great his love is. Hebrews 12:3-11 reminds me to think about the suffering Jesus experienced, so that I will not get tired and give up. God had a plan for his son. He has a plan for me. He is up to something. That something includes pain, because he loves me enough to not only include me into his plan, but also to grow me through his plan, and even to use me to accomplish part of his plan! Imagine that, when considering the size of the universe and the size of my tiny life. Attention of that kind from the creator of the universe could only be because of love.
Lord, help me to see past my pain. Help me never forget that you are up to something. Chisel me. Cut away that which should not be there. Make yourself famous through me somehow, even through my pain. Amen.