Remember John Glenn’s famous quote when he was asked what it felt like sitting atop the rocket, ready to launch? “I felt about as good as anybody would, sitting in a capsule on top of a rocket that were both built by the lowest bidder.” That is the feeling of many today amid our nation’s crisis, not exactly sure of what is going to happen next. We feel at times as though we are about to be swept up by current events. We are not certain if it will be a good ride or a ride that will be the end of us.
Crisis has a shaping effect on all of us. The blows of life, like a sculptor’s mallet and chisel, slowly chip away at us until they shape us into what we are. These blows take many forms: death, disease, difficulty, disappointment, and certainly our current national crisis. There are two factors in the shaping process of any experience: external and internal.
The first factor in the shaping process of any experience, the external, is that which happens to us. God does not promise exemptions from difficulties, even for His own people.
The second factor in the shaping process of any experience, the internal, is that which happens in us. Adversity can be either a tombstone or a steppingstone. The Apostle Paul saw prison as a steppingstone to advance the Gospel. He wrote in Philippians 1:12, “Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel.” John Bunyan saw his prison term as a steppingstone to write Pilgrim’s Progress. He later wrote, “The best way to go through sufferings, is to trust in God through Christ.”
To make almost anything that is good, something must first be broken. To build a house, a tree must be broken. To raise a crop, soil must be broken. To make a loaf of bread, grain must be broken. God can do it again in our crisis. He can turn our crises into steppingstones.
Sometimes it is from our brokenness that the very best comes into our lives. If God can bring meaning to Paul’s crisis and to John Bunyan’s crisis, He can do the same in the crisis you may be going through. Heavenly Father, please grant each of us the grace to follow these examples.