“The Lord may give you the bread of adversity and water of affliction, but he who teaches you will no longer keep himself out of sight, but with your own eyes you will see him.” (REB Isaiah 30:20)
Just before I went off on my summer holidays, a dear friend who should have been looking forwards to a time of renewed life went through a torrid time as a result of what we euphemistically sometimes refer to in the catch all phrase of ‘family troubles.’ Who among us has not known such a time, I wonder? But for we who claim to be people of faith that can be quite a challenge. My friend has always been generous with their time and listening ear but was struggling through tears to be the one who needed a shoulder to cry on. Such vulnerability was just a bit too scary.
In the book of Joshua, we read of the provision God made for people to find places of sanctuary (albeit in murderous circumstances.) Such places were secure spaces. We all need places where we can feel safe, where past misdeeds can be put behind us, where no one will condemn us. Then maybe we can go and do great things – and perhaps even go and sin no more.
Jesus did not pretend the past had never happened, but He seemed to find ways of not letting it be the end.
Now is where we are standing, and today is, not let us forget, the first day of the rest of our lives.
Just now we may well taste the bread of adversity and water of affliction, but our Lord sees us. And He sees us as we are – seeing potential in the most unlikely lump of stone. But that potential cannot be released until we acknowledge Him. He has paid the price for the whole quarry! Will we surrender to His purpose and allow Him to wash us clean, then chip away all that would get in the way, hone the surfaces until He can see His own reflection in the jewel of our lives?
Shall we be stones, resistant, hard and rough? Or gems, prepared and radiant with His glory?
My friend has been chipped and bruised by the recent ravages of life, but slowly, ever so slowly, glints of the true person are returning.