Smooth Stones In His Hand
Those of us who try to please the Lord (however imperfect our success) may struggle to meet life’s challenges. Some days, the waves of complexity threaten to crash over us, drowning us with stacked-up demands and no relief in sight.
In those situations, Believers draw strength and wisdom from our loving Heavenly Father.
Scriptural Heroes Went Through Tough Times
His Word reminds Believers that scriptural heroes—men and women of God—went through tough times. I think of Paul and his recounting in 2 Corinthians 11 the punishings that he endured for the Gospel:
25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent in the open sea. 26 In my many journeys I have been in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the desert, dangers in the sea, dangers among false brothers, 27 in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposures.
I need to know the Lord in the power of His resurrection, but sometimes we who believe also need to know Him in fellowship of suffering, or trials.
When King David was a young boy, his father overlooked him and his brothers teased him. He drew strength from God in the shepherd’s field. Alone under those stars or first thing in the morning, he sang to the Lord. When wild animals rescued them—even out of the lion’s mouth! David grew to trust God and to lean on Him for his whole identity.
I need to praise the Lord every day, and one of my favorite sounds is Myles playing his guitar with Yeshua in his view.
Another source of my strength during times of difficulty is God’s creation. I love the stillness that nature brings and its reminder of His artistry. Looking at the ocean’s boundless beauty makes me aware that God is still in charge.
I have been reading L. B. Cowman’s Streams in the Desert. A recent devotional brought to mind a local beach along the Northern California coast: Pebble Beach. Its name and fame stem from the eye-catching pebbles found there. These smooth stones started out neither smooth nor on that stretch of shoreline. They ended up in that condition and location after thunderous waves crashed against boulders, breaking off small, jagged rocks. The currents then tossed the pieces around, rolling and rubbing against each other, the ground, and the sharp edges of the cliffs until all the rough edges wore off, leaving beautiful, smooth stones.
God knows where we fit best, and He uses the tumult of life to “smooth” our rough and jagged edges. My grandmother liked to advise: “Whatever comes our way, let it serve His purpose.” Heeding her words provides a win-win: We benefit, and it pleases the Lord.