In Others’ Words: Friction

I’ll be honest: I want the polishing without the friction. The perfection without the adversity.

I can read the passage about counting trials as “all joy” and nod my  head, thinking, “Of course I will. I’m your girl, God. Bring it on.”

And then God goes about polishing and perfecting me.  He reveals my sin, scraping it off so that I stumble over a heap of filthy rags at my feet.

He allows trouble.  Distress that goes far beyond disappointment all the way to heart-rending pain that brings me to my knees. I know I am allowed to come before His throne of mercy … but I’m not certain I have the strength to crawl there.

Somehow, someway, I have to remember that the friction … the adversity … is God’s process to polish and perfect me. He sees great worth in me when I see nothing more than a plain old ordinary rock.

“I have engraved you on the palms of my hands …” Isaiah 49:16 NIV

In Your Words: How has God polished and perfected you?

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How is God like a master jeweler? Click to Tweet  

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24 Comments

  1. June 3, 2013, 6:09 am   /  Reply

    Good point. And polishing a gem slightly reduces its size but increases its worth. Friction rubbing two rocks together creates sparks, often constructive like striking a matcch to give light. Friction-often means not staying detached but getting involved with another person enough that maybe a few sparks are created, but usually with the result of knowing them better and the lasting benefit of warmth and light.

    • June 3, 2013, 11:02 am   /  Reply

      Love all your insights, especially the truth that friction decreases size but increases worth.

  2. June 3, 2013, 7:25 am   /  Reply

    “He sees great worth in me when I see nothing more than a plain old ordinary rock.”

    That lines deserves a huge “YEAH!” Love it. And yeah, I’m with you…I read those verses on counting trials as all joy and say, hmm, yeah, that’s good but could I get the joy without the trials. But then I think about some of the greatest times of joy in my life and a lot of times, they’ve followed a refining process.

    • June 3, 2013, 11:03 am   /  Reply

      🙂
      Agreed, Melissa. When I look back on the friction — when it’s in the rear view mirror, I can count it all JOY.

  3. June 3, 2013, 7:43 am   /  Reply

    God is still polishing and perfecting me. My life verse is Romans 8:29, talking about conforming me into the image of His Son. The most recent conforming, or polishing, has been in serving my family and “being all there” in the serving. This isn’t a big event, but a daily dying to self to live in a way that glorifies Him. This sort of polishing rubs more of the “self” off so He shines through me.

    • June 3, 2013, 11:03 am   /  Reply

      I think a daily dying to self is a big event, Jeanne. A daily choice to consider others more important than yourself.

  4. June 3, 2013, 7:43 am   /  Reply

    I think there’s also a duality at work – the friction that we undergo is also part of our fitting into the mosaic, if you will, that is God’s creation.

    The friction that is for our benefit must clearly be seen to be more a function of God’s intentions for our place in Heaven, rather than primarily to give us a better life in the Now.

    God is polishing me through quite a bit of different things, but I suppose that the earliest ‘facet’ to begin emerging is that of acceptance. I know that this is for a purpose, and that I might not know the purpose in this life. God disposes – but His dispositions may be other than we would choose, and may indeed be beyond our understanding.

    • June 3, 2013, 11:05 am   /  Reply

      Wise words indeed, Andrew. I love the idea of fitting into God’s mosaic — and the idea that mosaics are made from broken shards of glass. Beauty from that which is broken.

  5. June 3, 2013, 8:08 am   /  Reply

    Your words convey poetic beauty this morning, my friend. Our church just launched a summer sermon series from the book of James, so we camped out on that exact verse yesterday: “Count it pure joy, my brothers, when you endure hardship of many kinds.” Our pastor compared problems and sorrow to the rocks in our lives. They’re the things that have the capacity to weigh us down. But then he quoted, “Without rocks, streams would have no song.” I couldn’t write that sentence down fast enough. My heart is touched at a deeper level when I see someone singing (figuratively speaking) who has endured unbelievable hardship. Their beautiful song blares hope straight into my soul.

    • June 3, 2013, 11:06 am   /  Reply

      So, as God polishes us, he is creating a chorus us praise.
      Yes?

      🙂

  6. June 3, 2013, 8:53 am   /  Reply

    When I am in the midst of a trial I experience God’s love like no other time. He puts a bubble of peace around me. While I don’t miss the trials, I do miss that closeness only trials seem to bring. Maybe because those are times I am truly leaning on Him. Great post, but you always have great, thought-provoking posts!

    • June 3, 2013, 11:07 am   /  Reply

      Pat: You always have a sense of peace surrounding you. That’s one of the things I like about you most: the calm assurance of faith that is an integral part of your personality.

  7. June 3, 2013, 9:04 am   /  Reply

    I’ve always been a compassionate person, but my struggles with depression have made me VERY compassionate to those with any kind of mental illness. Especially women in the church who are told to pray harder and serve more too alleviate their feelings.
    Years of inside a see-through olive press feels the same as being polished, I can promise you that! But now I can look into the eyes of a woman who lives in duress, grab her by the shoulders and say “Honey, I know.”

    • June 3, 2013, 11:08 am   /  Reply

      We need one another.
      We comfort others in the way we have been comforted.

  8. June 3, 2013, 9:30 am   /  Reply

    Ooo, I love this. Yes, we want smooth lives without any rough patches. But I’ve found that the rough patches are what have really made me into the person I am today. Because without them, I don’t really have a need for God, do I? I don’t seek Him out in the same way as when I’m clinging to Him during times when He’s my only hope. I want to, but it’s a simple fact that I do it more when I need to. And our character is defined in those moments when we are faced with the tough stuff…when we learn whether we’ll rely on him and become a diamond, or stay in our mess and remain a lump of coal.

    • June 3, 2013, 11:09 am   /  Reply

      Exactly so, Lindsay. Exactly so. Diamond or lump of coal. Rely on myself or admit that I need God?

  9. Andrea Cox
    June 3, 2013, 9:53 am   /  Reply

    Oh, Beth, what a topic! What a wonderful, blessed topic! So many times, when we’re suffering, we forget that God’s using those moments to mold us and shape us into the beautiful people He is designing us to become. We aren’t born into those designs. We’re molded into them. Yes, it’s a painful process. But it’s very, VERY worth it. God’s got great plans for us. Let’s encourage each other through the sufferings until we reach those awesome plans. (And even after we get there.)

    Blessings,
    Andrea

    • June 3, 2013, 11:10 am   /  Reply

      Andrea: One of the greatest joys of the trials — and Jennifer touched on it in her comment — is encouraging others in the way we have been comforted and encouraged and changed by God.

      • Andrea Cox
        June 3, 2013, 12:27 pm   /  Reply

        I agree. I’ve been on both sides of that fence: being encouraged and encouraging others. God is so amazing and giving in how He places us in each other’s lives. We’re always affected, one way or the other.

  10. June 3, 2013, 10:24 am   /  Reply

    Thinking about it later I knew I needed to add a P.S. Though I might not have chosen it, I see that the friction of growing up in a non-Christian home, where there was even sometimes punishment and fights for going to church, cemented foundations in me. I learned to recognize God’s presence by where I found peace and hungered for it. So thankful He drew me, met me, and has always been faithful.

    • June 3, 2013, 11:11 am   /  Reply

      Very wise insight, Dee.

  11. Bernadette DesChamps
    June 3, 2013, 11:29 am   /  Reply

    As I looked at the gem in your photo the first thing I noticed were all the facets. Dozens of tiny surfaces cut into the stone. The more facets, the more surfaces to reflect light. Every blow of the cutters tool gouging away with purpose. Not to bruise the stone or to merely amass a heap of rubble, but to etch those shining surfaces to perfection and then, yes, to polish, polish, polish. This doesn’t really answer your question, but it is where my mind went with your analogy.

    Yesterday I got to share with a couple of young women that as I look back upon my life…the highs, the lows, and the sharp left turns…I see that He wasted nothing. The words we sang that very morning, “You make all things work together for my good,” were indeed true. If there is any shine from our life, it is from the cutting and the polishing. Our lives start at redemption and are always about redemption. We are living, shining, walking reflections of the living gospel.

    The Word. The Truth…who came to save and keep saving. We are engraved on the palm of His hand and His truth is mercifully, though often painfully, etched into our hearts causing each beat to send fresh faith, hope, love, strength and assurance coursing through our lives. It is achingly beautiful to me…my precious Jesus holding my ache so tenderly and whispering so, so softly, “Peace, be still. I am here, sweet child. I am making you beautiful.”

  12. terri tiffany
    June 3, 2013, 11:38 am   /  Reply

    He’s polishing me today as he has been each day. Through these past years as we prayed and hoped for work and survived –he was polishing me. Didn’t like the friction either at all. But I have been smoothed in many areas that I wasn’t beforehand. Still much to be done on me. But that’s okay cause He’s with me.

  13. June 3, 2013, 2:36 pm   /  Reply

    Friction is often the revealer of change that needs to happen.

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