Glorying in Tribulation

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also" (Rom. 5:3) read I to a Christian lady who was suffering with a painful illness. "That is something I have never been able to do," said she; "I ask God to give me patience, and that I may be resigned to His will, for I am sure He knows best, but I cannot go further than that, and I do not see how anyone can, for nobody likes to suffer."

"But perhaps if you saw what the end is that God has in view for you, even you might be able to glory in your tribulation. Shall I try to explain what I mean?" I said. I had her permission, and employed this parable. A famous sculptor went to a quarry and chose there a block of marble, which he conveyed to his studio. It was a rough and unsightly mass, and seemed strangely out of place amongst so many wonderful statues. But day by day the sculptor concentrated his energy upon it, hammering, chiselling, chipping here and there. The marble grew restive under this treatment, and at last found tongue and said, "Sculptor, I do not like the way you are treating me. I am doing my best to be patient and resigned, but I wish this chip, chip, chip would cease." But the sculptor answered the marble and said, "If only you knew what I was doing with you, you would be glad and let me proceed with my work without any interruption."

"Please show me what your purpose is, and that may help me to bear all the pain and discomfort better," said the marble. The sculptor then set before the marble some wonderful drawings and a beautiful model and said, "That is my intention for you, and I shall not be satisfied or cease my work upon you until I have succeeded in my purpose."

The marble was amazed and thrilled at the sight and said within itself, "Is it possible that I am to bear such beauty? Then I will be quiet and let the master's hand continue its work of changing my ugliness into that glorious image." And from that day onward, every blow of the hammer and every chip with the chisel made it say, "That brings me so much nearer the beautiful model."

That was my parable, and here is the interpretation of it. Romans 8:29 tells us that God has predestinated us who believe to be CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. He has taken us, rough and unbeautiful material, out of nature's quarry to fashion us for His heavenly, glory, and in this connection we read: "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." So that if we are to glory in tribulation, in the chip, chip of the Sculptor's chisel, we must see the model and contemplate Him; what a destiny — the image of God's Son, and what wonderful love lies behind it all. The contemplation of the goodness and wisdom of God changes our murmuring into resignation and confidence, but when we see His purpose for us an Christ, then our resignation gives place to rejoicing. We glory in tribulation also, for we know that it all works now to moral conformity to the Son of God.