Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Pattern of Afflictions and Beautification of Lives

UV 2847/10000 Pattern of Afflictions and Beautification of Lives
O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires
Isaiah 54 v 11

The key words in this uni-verse are afflicted, tempest, stones, foundations, sapphires. The key action words or verbs are tossed, comforted, lay. The uni-verse implies that afflictions are the way and methodology of the Lord from ancient times to now to shape each believer into precious stones like jasper, sapphires, onyx, topaz. All these stones were once ordinary stones but with the pressure, heat, cold, ravages of time, the ordinary rough stones are through a process of metamorphosis turned into amazingly beautiful and precious stones. It is the wisdom of God which is more precious than rubies and pure gold that makes possible this kind of remarkable personal transformation.

The echo verse of this uni-verse is in Revelation 21 v 19:” And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;” The afflictions and the working of the Holy Spirit in the depth of our being affects the foundations of our lives. The twelve types of precious stones enumerated in Revelation that constitute the foundations of the walls of the Eternal City are metaphors for the twelve sons of Jacob and the twelve disciples of Jesus including Matthias who was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. Every believer should allow the Lord to work on our hidden and deep foundations. Often, it involves a process of going through a furnace of afflictions to purify us of the dross of the world and of our own flesh or DNA or natural hubris. But in the end, the Lord promises to make all beautiful in His time that includes all of eternity.

When we are so “tossed with tempest”, we should hold onto our Rock –Jesus and we will be comforted by the Comforter, the Wonderful Counsellor and lifted up above the storms of life by Almighty God. Each of the twelve precious stones of Revelation chapter 21 has its unique traits and qualities symbolising the unique qualities of the image of God manifested in different believers and followers of Jesus. Through each the grace and wisdom of the Lord is manifested uniquely to produce different life histories and testimonies. But It is gratifying to note that the Lord choses to build the walls of the Eternal City on the lives and contributions of the believers. He so delights in us as a collector of precious stones would on seeing, feeling and experiencing the beauty of his stones. But unlike the collector’s pieces or stones, we are designed not just to be an ornament of the Lord but to play functional roles of strength and serve as foundations of the kingdom of God.

Prateep V Philip

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