We recently updated the twenty-five year old dusty pink, laminate countertop in our kitchen. Although it had served us well, it was outdated and chipped and was practically begging me to put it out of its misery. Okay, maybe the begging was actually coming from me, but I digress. At any rate, I saved my pennies until I could afford a beautiful, new granite countertop and was beyond thrilled at its appearance.
However, as is so often the case when making home improvements, one change precipitated another. Tearing out the old countertop ruined the tile backsplash that was on the wall behind the sink so over the weekend, Phil and I headed out to our neighborhood home improvement store to find a suitable replacement. We took along a small piece of the granite so we could match potential colors. Three of its sides were shiny, but the fourth was left in its original state. As we drove along Phil looked over at the granite piece and remarked, “You know without polishing, granite doesn’t look that great.”
He was right. When initially mined, granite looks fairly unremarkable. It’s hard for me to fathom the ancient volcanic eruption that spewed forth fiery magma that later cooled and hardened into granite. Although crystalized patterns can be seen from the extreme heating and cooling process, the colors are mostly dull and muted. The edges of the large slabs of stone are jagged and grey. It’s not until it is ground with diamonds that it begins to unveil its luster and shine. Hmmm, I think, that’s sort of like me. For in truth, if left in my natural state I might choose to stay rough around the edges, unhewn and coarse in my selfish desires. I would never get to be my best self without a little polishing from God.
Although having my rough spots ground away is not always what I would ask for at the time, the result is a greater revealing of the Spirit within me. And it’s that is the very thing that I cry out for when I ask the Lord to give me an undivided heart. I echo David in Psalm 86 when he writes, “Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth. Give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O LORD my God, with all of my heart; I will glorify your name forever.”
I ask not for a heart of stone, but a loving, beating, pliable heart that will do the will of the Father. But oh how hard it is sometimes to do what loves requires– to repay evil with good, to throw away the score card, to hold my tongue, to trust when the way seems impossible. Those actions and attitudes are only possible when I offer myself up to the transformational love of Jesus Christ – the love that embodies the power and wisdom of God the Father. So when my own life erupts with trouble and testing I can be confident that on the other side of the Refiner’s fire waits the outstretched hand of my Redeemer.
Thank-you Lord, that You hear my cry and do not leave me in my distress. You look upon me with compassion and mercy even in the midst of my trouble. And though the grinding of this life seems hard, I know that Your love in my life will produce a luster more beautiful than diamonds.