Turbulence That Transforms
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Our grandson has one of those inquiring minds. So he really likes a gift he got for Christmas; it's called a rock tumbler. You'll never guess what it does. It tumbles rocks. The rock tumbler is placed in water, and these boring old rocks are placed in the rock tumbler, you turn it on and you let the good times roll! Those rocks start spinning, flying, and crashing into each other as they churn around in that water. All they need is some music so they could have a rock concert. Right? Ok, fine. The atmosphere inside that rock tumbler is pure mayhem. But after all the rockin' and rollin' and clashin' and crashin', something pretty amazing happens. Before those rocks went through the tumbler, they were just drab, boring hunks of stone. They come out displaying a beauty you would have never guessed they had!
If the real beauty of a dumb old rock is uncovered through turmoil and turbulence, don't you suppose that could be true of us as people; of you as a "people"? Could it be that all the hits you've been taking right now are actually part of God's "tumbler" to give you a beauty that you've never had before? That's very much His way. Pressure and heat make a lump of coal into a diamond. An oyster's irritation and aggravation from a grain of sand, well you know, ultimately emerges as a pearl of great price.
Maybe you need to just kind of stand back from what's been happening to see what God is doing through what's happening. Isaiah 61, beginning with verse 1, our word for today from the Word of God, reveals some of how turbulence can transform you. The Son of God says: "The Lord...has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners." You may feel like you're in one of those categories: you're brokenhearted, you're captive, or you're a prisoner to darkness. That's not the end of the story.
God's Son goes on to say He was sent to "...comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion; to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." Jesus makes beauty from the ashes of your life, gladness from the grieving times, and praise emerging from a time of despair.
Here's how God wants to help you look when you come out of the tumbler: "They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." God wants to use the tumbler to make you strong and indestructible like an oak. Suffering makes wimps into warriors. And He wants to use the turbulence to give you such a beautiful relationship with Him that you will be a stage to show His glory. Ultimately, the Bible says, "you will be named ministers of our God." That means you'll be equipped by the hard times to be a powerful instrument of God in other hurting lives.
The shaking you're enduring, the hits you're taking, those are tools in God's hands to bring out an amazing beauty in you: a strength, a tenderness, a maturity, a confidence, a compassion that comes only from being beautified in God's tumbler. So don't wallow in the "why is this happening?" quagmire. Instead, keep asking, "How can God use this?" Don't despair when you keep running into things and things keep running into you, when your whole world is spinning and colliding. This isn't to destroy you. This is to give you a beauty you've never had before. If you let God have His way in this turbulence, you will "display His splendor" for the rest of your life!