Disappointment, discouragement, and disillusionment are common emotions in today’s world. The adverse effects of sickness, disease, family strife, economic woes, political unrest, and natural disasters are evident almost everywhere you turn. A sense of hopelessness hangs heavy in the air.
I am intimately acquainted with these negative feelings. Over the past few years I have struggled with the loss of health, the loss of career, the loss of loved ones, and the uncertainty of life. Many times I have asked the question, “Why?”
I am a pen turner. The lathe is my seminary; it is the place I go to contemplate life. As the chips fly and the pen takes shape, I am able to understand more about life. It was at the lathe that God started to help understand His purpose for pain in my life.
Lessons from the Lathe
1. The process is planned –The craftsman determines what he will create, which determines the steps he must follow. The process is planned. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
2. The process is painful –Each step of the process in turning a piece of wood or antler into a pen is painful to the material with which I am working. The process includes cutting, drilling, shaping, sanding, polishing, friction, and pressure. The process will include pain! James 1:3-4, “Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
3. The process is profitable –When the process is complete the material has been transformed; it has new beauty, value, and purpose. Something of little value now has greater value, all because it endured a painful process! Job 23:10, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”Everyone has crisis in their lives which causes them to question God’s goodness. I have learned through all of the struggles and through many hours of working at the lathe that God has a purpose for our suffering. If you are struggling with discouragement today and are asking, "Why would God allow this to happen to me?", let me encourage that God has a purpose for the pain you are going through. Allow Him to complete His process. And then you will be able to say like Paul in Romans 8:28, "All things work together for good to them that love God..."
God is good!