Friday, September 16, 2011


"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation."
~Philippians 4:12

Yesterday I sat in on a class of third and fourth graders.  Their teacher passed two rocks around the group.  One was quite rough and dull, with jagged edges and inexact sides.  The second was smooth with a polished look, nearly oval in shape.  The teacher asked the students to tell her which rock they thought had enjoyed an easier life, the rough rock or the smooth one.  I was impressed that every student except one chose the smooth rock, guessing that it had enjoyed the easier life.  I bet that many adults would answer the same way.

The students' teacher was gentle and wise.  She surprised the students by telling them that the answer was exactly the opposite of what most of them had guessed.  The rough rock was rough because it had been been buried in the ground, protected from the abrasion, conditioning and polishing of the harsh elements.  As a result, it was rough and dull and jagged.  The smooth rock had instead been subjected to years of tumbling, wear and abrasive polishing at the bottom of a rapid stream.  The result was it's lovely, smooth and polished appearance.

The teacher was using the rocks to illustrate an important truth about Christian life.  In the world, a life of ease without significant hardship often appears outwardly beautiful.  The rocks, however, were intended to represent our souls and interior life.  We often desire a life of ease and comfort in our pursuit of happiness and fulfillment.  But when it comes to our souls, God uses the trials and struggles of life to polish and refine us according to His perfect design.

I am tucking this one away for a day when my kids need some encouragement. When I am feeling discontent, may I remember it myself.

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