“…he made me into a polished arrow”

I was reading in Streams in the Desert recently, and the entry for that day was this portion of Isaiah 49:2. It got me to thinking about the adversities of life and God’s purposes in them.

The goal for many of us is to get through life as unscathed and trouble free as possible, when that is not God’s intention or plan at all for His children. Think of all of God we would miss without adversity, without hardship, and without persecution.
Our faith and trust in God grows deep in times of trial. The roots of our belief and understanding grow deep and strong into our hearts and create anchors that are immoveable. Some of the best times of growth in my spiritual life have been when life has been at its worst. When times were tough and I was completely uncertain of everything in this life and how it would unfold is when the “Who” of God became real.
Do you know what I mean by the “Who of God?” Until we have cause to grab hold of all we have learned and put in our minds about God and His character it is all ethereal and unformed. There is little substance that we can wrap our arms around. But when those harsh waves of adversity crash into life we begin to experience God. We begin to “see” who He is and receive in ways that defy words the things God promises to us as we believe.
Without these things in life we would remain unpolished, our edges both outer and inner would remain jagged. Adversity brings change on some level. It brings us changes of the heart (the inner man) because we receive things that we don’t want, or we are denied things that we do want and we have to make a decision to respond righteously. This causes change as what we have learned in the abstract now must become real to us in application. When we make that transfer, change takes place.
God’s polishing tool brings us pain at times, literal, physical pain. Illness, disease, and suffering are all tools of the Almighty in shaping us into His image. He will stop at nothing to create in us what He has foreordained.