How does a shipbuilder find the right tree to use for a mast? He goes to the forest and picks out a tree that will fit his purpose. Then he cuts down the trees that are growing close by so the trunk will be isolated. The tree is given no protection from storms, but is left fully exposed. Only after surviving this kind of treatment is the tree considered worthy to endure the pressure that will be placed upon it as a ship’s mast.

God uses our trials to produce a similar result. He brings us to a place where we have nothing else to lean upon for protection, and then He lets it rain. Hard. He lets the fierce winds blow. He allows lightning to strike. And do you know why He does it? It’s because He wants to get us ready for bigger things in this life, and better things in the life to come. Someday we’ll be able to rule and reign with Jesus in Heaven. The trials down here can’t compare to the great things He’ll have for us up there.

David had more than his share of hard times. His brothers were jealous of him. His king tried to kill him. He had to spend more than 10 years running for his life—and this was before he became king of Israel. Yet he saw the ring in his suffering when God finally delivered him from his enemies and gave him the throne. He concluded, “As for God, His way is perfect.”

There is a ring in your suffering, Friend. Those injustices you have endured, the disappointments, the changed plans—even the delayed answers to prayer—are all part of God’s bigger plan for your life. I hope you will allow Him to accomplish His perfect work in you through them.

A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain. — Mildred W. Struven

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder