I'm leaving the country for the first time in nine days. Nine. We're into single digits. Wow. Friday night we had this special thing at church, and afterward I was talking to my friend Susan. I was lamenting that the theme of the retreat we're doing is sanctification, and that I felt like I didn't have a working definition. I mean, I know what sanctification IS, but the process, the definition, the whole thing is a little muddy to me. Then yesterday I woke up for my quiet time, and God just started pouring this poem out. I know it's not well written, but honestly, I don't feel like I wrote it. Here goes:
A perfect gem, a finished work
My Father cuts himself
From rough-hewn rock, carved and smoothed
Brings forth from nothing, wealth
His keen eye and steady hand I trust
To hold in tender vice
Lopping off the needless filth
I've gathered in this life
The first cuts ache, for they are large
Hints of beauty poking through
From dirty rock to precious gem
Joys of change, bold and new
Still I'm dull and ask my Jeweler
Rough places yet to smooth
Darkness held so dear I give,
There's nothing He can't use.
Throwing back His head, He laughs with joy
At my aching, pleading need
To be more like Him and less like me
Ever faithful, He gives heed.
He sets to work, sharp chisel gleams
Keen focus in His eyes
"More you want", He gently says
His sweet presence is my prize
The pain intense, relentless work
It seems too much to bear
But my Master labors patiently
And finding value, lingers there
I survey His work when He steps back
And astonished, hang my head
"Such work, such pain, for what?", I ask
"One new facet?", sick with dread
Despairing of the days to come
As refining never ends,
He comes and gently lifts my head
My downcast soul to mend
"That facet I did not make for you,
That facet is for them
So they see hints and glints of Me,
My precious, spotless gem."
"My work is slow, of focused pace
To build your fragile trust
You withstand great pressure tenderly
Never cracked and left to dust"
"I will work what you allow
Nothing less and nothing more
My work is your great offering
It's what your heart beats for"
"Submit time and again to this
Unabated is the change
I ask of you, my darling one
Familiar, yet still strange "
"The reward is great, for one day soon
You'll catch a glimpse and start
The gem I've polished, raised from the dead
Is your priceless ruby heart."