He made me into a polished arrow. (Isaiah 49: 2)
Pebble Beach, on the California coast, has become quite famous for the beautiful pebbles found there. The raging white surf continually roars, thundering and pounding against the rocks on the shore. These stones are trapped in the arms of the merciless waves. They are tossed, rolled, rubbed together, and ground against the sharp edges of the cliffs. Both day and night, this process of grinding continues relentlessly. And what is the result?
Tourists from around the world flock there to collect the beautiful round stones. They display them in cabinets and use them to decorate their homes. Yet a little farther up the coast, just around the point of the cliff, is a quiet cove. Protected from the face of the ocean, sheltered from the storms, and always in the sun, the sands are covered with an abundance of pebbles never sought by the travelers.
So why have these stones been left untouched through all the years? Simply because they have escaped all the turmoil and the grinding of the waves. The quietness and peace have left them as they have always been— rough, unpolished, and devoid of beauty— for polish is the result of difficulties.
Since God knows what niche we are to fill, let us trust Him to shape us to it. And since He knows what work we are to do, let us trust Him to grind us so we will be properly prepared.
O blows that strike! O hurts that pierce
This fainting heart of mine!
What are you but the Master’s tools
Forming a work Divine?
Nearly all of God’s jewels are crystallized tears.
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim. Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 263-264). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.