On the coast of Pescadero, California is the famous Pebble Beach where the waves dash with a ceaseless roar, hurling stones against the rugged rocky outcrops, thundering them onto the beach, tossing them and grinding them together, over and over. This continues day and night, every day and every night. Tourists from all over the world gather the beautiful, rounded, polished stones for ornaments and prized jewellery.
Just next to the famed Pebble Beach is another “pebble beach.” In this quiet cove, a towering cliff breaks the force of the dashing waves, which play gently along the shore. There is the same abundance of stones but they are unsought and unwanted.
What makes the difference?
They have escaped the turmoil and the beating of the waves. They haven’t suffered the grinding of being tossed and thrown, so they are rough and angular and devoid of beauty.
LIFE CAN BE LIKE THAT
We might sometimes feel as though life is pounding us, tossing us about and throwing us onto rocks. We sometimes encounter trouble and strife, like we are being put through a grinder. It is hard to bear. The blood-bought, adopted child of the living God is not free from those struggles. We are not promised a bed of roses or a life of ease. We are warned to expect troubles.
John 16:33 NLT Jesus said . . .
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
James 1:2-5 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way,
consider it an opportunity for great joy.
For you know that when your faith is tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow.
So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed,
you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God,
and he will give it to you.
He will not rebuke you for asking.
Or as I read somewhere years ago: We can COUNT it all joy when beset by trials, because we KNOW the purposes of God. We can LET God’s maturing process work in us while we ASK for wisdom, that we won’t waste the opportunity, but will use it to grow and mature.
When we endure by God’s grace and enabling, we can look back on those times with thankfulness because we can see how that being tossed to and fro and battered and beaten actually made us better people. We have lost those rough edges. The hard exterior has been penetrated and the true inner radiance is released.
We are as clay in the potter’s hands. We are as gold in the refiner’s fire – but we are precious to our Redeemer.
We KNOW that He desires the very best for us. As we allow Him to mould us and make us in His image we can rejoice because we KNOW that He is there in the midst of our troubles and that He will enable us to be more than conquerors.
Psalm 18:2 NLT
The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Saviour.
My God is my Rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my Shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.