While I was walking the beach, I found this very unique rock with a hole worn into it by the water. I wondered to myself how long did it take the ocean to drill a hole in this rock? How much work was exerted? How many years did this take? What has this rock been through to get this hole?
When we are working to build our bodies, families, businesses, faith, bank accounts, marriages, master our minds, and many other good things, we all want to see success yesterday or at the very least tomorrow. In reality, it takes years to mold ourselves into what we want to be and what we really want to become and sometimes when we look back at what we achieved, we have become something even greater than we originally imagined. How rare is the person that disciplines themselves to do every little thing required to achieve the big goal? Their word is their bond to themselves and their life. When they say they will do something they do it, period. So neat that this little rock caused the wheels in my head to think about perspective and hard work.
This reminds me of a story that I heard about an army commander. Forgive me if I do not get all the details correct as I am telling the story from memory. He was on his final tour of duty and was the commanding officer of his group. They were in charge of recon and preparing to make an invasion by taking photographs and getting the lay of the land and making a plan. He felt very responsible for the safety of all his men and took every precaution to keep them from harm while still taking the bold steps necessary to complete the mission. As he was walking with his men, he stepped on a landmine. He remembered a loud noise then darkness and finally came to back in the U.S. He noticed that he was missing a leg and an arm and saw his wife sitting at his bedside and doctors and nurses hustling around taking care of others like him. His first reaction was rage and anger. He was screaming and throwing things and just couldn’t believe what had happened to him. He continued this rage for several months and seemed to refuse to be comforted til one day he received a package in the mail containing a pencil and started receiving visits from a nurse who took great care of him and desired his mental return to greatness.
She said to him, “Until you find a way to see the positive in this, you will not heal. Your negative attitude is a virus that is killing you from the inside out.” She then asked him to write.
He did as she asked and started to write. After some time the pencil lead broke and he reached for a sharpener. As he turned the handle of the sharpener, he thought about God and himself and how he was like the broken lead. God was the razor blades of the sharpener, grinding the unusable broken pencil back to a sharp point. At the same time, he realized that the pencil probably does not like being sharpened because it hurts to cut off the dull spots into a nice sharp point. He realized that once God had him sharp, he immediately started to dull with use and would need to be resharpened and thrown into the refiner’s fire. We all wonder why this process is necessary in our lives, but in this General’s life, the symbolic pencil was broken into 2 pieces causing need for sharpening on both ends and the extra piece with the eraser on it. He went through so much pain to be sharpened by God but he was and did live a great life, still influencing many to do great things.
This rock went through a refining process to contain this hole, and so do we. We need to be part of the refining process and do our best to make ourselves into the people we want to be, but we also need God and others who love us to help mold us into something even better than we imagined we could be. By the same spirit, we need to help those around us see what they can become and help them achieve it.