I've been stuck in Isaiah 51 for weeks. I haven't wanted to use the verse God had put on my heart for this month because I couldn't make a "pretty" picture out of it. The artist in me balked until last night, when Michael Hyatt tweeted a joke while I was wrestling with it: "a man says to his wife, 'meet me at the gravel pit, I'm a little bolder there.'"
OK, Lord. Even I know when a dry joke is your way of pushing me toward obedience. You don't have to hit me over the head with a....well, boulder.
I so desperately wanted to focus on the flowers and gardens in the following verses. You know how I feel about the petals and blooms and God's redemptive thread that I can't get enough of. But instead of pretty gardens, we are going to spend some time in the quarry today.
And I do love the metaphor God uses here. Rocks. Stones. Quarries. Words like "hewn."
See, rocks take eons of time to form: layers and layers of sediment and mineral deposits.....compressed and forged into mighty stone. The heat of the earth's core melds the elements into solid rock. Rock that can be quarried for special purposes.
Are you in God's quarry?
I can imagine some of you "granite people" thinking God has forgotten all about you, all buried and pressured by the weight of the world. Hey, what's the point of being the handsomest and strongest rock around if you never get your day in the sun?
But life in the quarry means that eventually the Master stone cutter will find you and start his work.
He admires your color and strength.
He envisions where you will be most useful and utterly glorifying to Him. He contemplates your quality and sees the areas that need work.
And then He begins to chisel.
First with the heavy tools to separate you from the rest of the rock around you. It's noisy and messy and dirty. It's kinda painful, really. But he needs you to be fully and completely His to work with, so he chips you away from what has held you back. Finally, you are free.
The Master strokes his chin and feels His way around your rough edges. He knows the location you're going to eventually be placed like the back of His hand. He knows he needs a very special stone that is both strong and beautiful. He brings out the finer tools to form and refine you. You will be a work of art by the time He is done.
"But Lord, I'm anxious to get to the place where I'll REALLY be used, like building your church!" you might be chafing under the grinding tool. What can possibly take so long in this dreadful pit?
Ah, but you must be patient! Don't forget that the stones used for Solomon's temple were perfected in the quarry so they could be fitted into place without hammer or chisel in the house of the Lord! (I Kings 6:7) All the flying chips of rock and dust were left in the gravel pit so that only polished stones would be brought up out of that hole. The veins of imperfections and weaknesses had been removed so that what was left was the incredible craftsmanship of the Master.
It isn't very glamorous down there in that quarry.
When we submit to the selection process, the measuring, the chipping, the chiseling, the fine grinding and polishing, we will emerge ready to be placed into God's building program. We are living stones, fitted together with Jesus as our cornerstone.
Life in the quarry isn't easy, but it's part of how God builds His kingdom. He is looking for those stones that have been beautifully marbled with life experience, sparkling with iridescent joy, and infused with the kind of faith that is borne in difficulties and pressures. He is skillfully smoothing and polishing each one of us for His purpose and glory.
Today's Small Thing is to take Isaiah 51:1 and print it off, post it up, or use it as desktop decor. Meditate on the process the Master is using in your life and know that He is preparing you as only He can.
POINTS: 50 for posting up Isaiah 51:1