Sandpaper and Rock Tumbler

Some days (or weeks) it’s hard to know what to say to friends and family back at home. It’s hard to know what to write in this blog.

When we left the US to come to the Africa Mercy, we knew that there would be challenges. We knew that we would be stretched. I think we had in mind the ways we would grow. But, some of it hasn’t turned out as we expected. Yes, we have been challenged and stretched, and yes we have definitely grown. But God, in His wisdom had unexpected plans for where and how this growth would be accomplished.

In a training that Briana helps facilitate called Equipping to Serve, the metaphor of a rock tumbler is used to describe community life on the ship. Rough rocks are put into the rock tumbler along with salt and and other abrasives. The rocks are turned over and over and over, so that they repeatedly rub against each other and the abrasives. When the rock tumbler is opened, you can see that the rough and sharp rocks have become polished and stones.

This is what living on the ship can be like, with us rubbing against the rough edges of our fellow crew mates as the rub on our rough edges. Gods uses others as instruments of his polishing. As I think about, the same was true back at home, it was just a bit easier to hop out of the rock tumbler when it got painful.

So, how has God used this rock tumbler since we’ve been here? Well, I think we both had ideas about what areas we wanted to improve in while here-increasing knowledge of other cultures and languages and improving speaking ability-these seem like good safe areas to improve on. But God, it seems, had different ideas about the areas in which He wanted to work. It seems God had in mind to apply some sandpaper to rub off bits of pride, self-reliance and tendencies toward unforgiveness.

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.  Isaiah 64:8

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Hebrews 12:11-12

As you lift us up in prayer, please pray for our endurance and joy in the midst of our rough edges being made smooth. As you think your own life, especially those annoyances with others, ask God to show you how He’s using them to mold and shape you into the masterpiece He desires.