We often seek answers to life problems, but Jesus is showing us something bigger – a process that leads us to Him. Have you ever thought that “nobody knows what I am going through?” “Am I the only one going through this?” “Am I going to make it through this?” These questions are real and we have all asked ourselves these at different times.
Answers can fall short of understanding the reasons for things going on. Jesus is doing a hidden work that will last for all of eternity. Jesus is building you into what he has made you be. This “hidden work” produces what we could never manufacture on our own. In 1 Peter 3:4:
“rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
The process may be painful, but the outcome is worth it all. The depth of our trial will be the depth we will be adorned with power and wisdom that ministers to many.
1 Kings 6:7 explains where the stones came from the temple. A stone quarry is where the raw material came from for building the temple. The three stages of the “quarry” are Finding, Conforming, and Placement. The specification for the temple required that no hammer be used near or in the temple and that the stone was 5x5x5. The temple was a place for worship and sacrifice not for noise and labor. Each person that we invest in is in one of these stages.
The first stage of “finding” comes as a blast breaks the rocks from the bedrock and unformed rock-strewn around randomly. This is the part when the stonemason is looking for the stone with the right kind and integrity that will go with the whole project. By way of illustration, we may have a “blast” that happens in our lives that breaks up the routine and sends us in an unexpected direction, This is where we are most vulnerable and there are many unknowns.
The next stage of the process is chiseling. Once the stonemason picks the unformed rock all the cutting and breaking is done in the quarry in the underground, out of public view. This process of chiseling is uncomfortable and painful but the rock is being fitted for a purpose, to be placed in the foundation or walls. This is the place of reduction and sizing. God will mold you into His plan often doing things or allowing things to happen that don’t make sense at present, but they all work together for good.
God will also use the “file” to smooth out rough edges and polish us. God is not random -everything is designed to be “fitted” for the Master’s use. He equips us for His work and puts His words in our mouth so that we can be His vessel.
Our initial response is to fight the process or give up. Rest in the Lord and let Him work things in and out of our lives. His work is perfect.
The next stage of the process is placement. Each stone has a purpose and a place. Once the stone has been tried and formed the stone is then polished for placement. This takes humility to surrender our personal rights.
To be placed in His master plan is a demonstration to whom we belong. Just as a stone is placed into a large wall we become part of something greater than ourselves. Even our greatest dreams and plans dwarf in comparison to what God has prepared for us.
God’s ways are so beyond our ways. Often we want to give God advice on how we want His plan to unfold. We want to hide our flaws but His divine plan is to make our weakness a platform for God’s strength.
In each season we may be at different parts of the quarry process. Often we will force things to happen because we are in a rush or we are pushing God in our direction. Jesus is so gracious, He will not pound square pegs into round circles – we are called to be fitted perfectly for the master’s use in His plan.
Jason is a graduate from Maryland Bible College and Seminary, and presently he leads the Pastoral Care Team of Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. Since age 16, Jason has been involved with mission work among the former Soviet-Bloc countries in Eastern Europe, as well as in Asia, and in the United States. While living in Ukraine, he helped church plant three new churches that continue to thrive today under trained nationals. He has also written five books and has his own podcast (tinyurl.com/IRpodcast)