History and Destiny
Friends of mine in Texas have what I call a Christian country rock band that they call “Dust to Glory.” I love the thought of that. It speaks of both our humble human history AND our glorious ultimate destiny in Christ! Crafted from the dust of the earth at creation, we are on a journey that God intends to end in glory with Him in Christ!
Challenge and Difficulty
On that journey there is much that is challenging, difficult, painful, and sometimes downright devastating. But the Apostle Paul has proclaimed that no experience of affliction or suffering is meaningless. It all has purpose. And the ultimate purpose is glory!!!
“For this light, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” (2 Cor. 4:17, ESV).
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us,” (Rom. 8:18, NIV).
Diamonds and Their Brilliance
The most amazing diamond, in truth, has no brilliance of its own. The dazzling sparkle that diamonds demonstrate is actually a reflection of the light that strikes them. In darkness, diamonds are lifeless and dead. But in light, they shine brilliantly as light flows through them. The degree of brilliance depends upon three essential qualities; clarity, carat, and cut. Clarity relates to color and purity. Dark color and flaws in the diamond can prevent light from passing through, hence a dull diamond. Carat relates to size. Bigger diamonds tend to have more surface to gather and reflect light. Cut relates to the facets in the shape of the diamond. Cut is of extreme importance; the more facets in the cut of the diamond, the more brilliant the reflection of light. Smaller diamonds (in carat) can outshine larger ones when the cut of the diamond is right.
Our Participation Matters
On our journey from dust to glory, our participation with God in what He is doing in our lives matters. Yes, all of God’s children will be welcomed home into heaven to share in the glory of our Savior, Jesus Christ. All will enjoy and reflect the light of the glory of God revealed in the person of His Son. But I am convinced that some will shine more brilliantly than others reflecting a light not their own. Clarity, of course, will be the same; we will all be cleansed of every flaw and every residue of darkness. But carat will differ; did we grow in Christ, or remain spiritual infants? Were we followers of Jesus who grew in Christian maturity, or merely believers? Still, the biggest difference will be cut; was comfort our goal or was it character? Did we pursue happiness or holiness? When the way was narrow and difficult did we abandon it for a broader, easier road well-travelled by the world around us, or did we run with endurance the race set before us, looking away to Jesus, the initiator and perfector of our faith?
The Diamond Cutter
God uses the realities of affliction and suffering to shape our lives for His glory. His discipline is “for our good, that we may share in his holiness,” (Heb. 12:10, NIV). Indeed, “for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it, (Heb. 12:11, NIV). However, I do not believe that God plans all our pain. Much of the suffering we experience comes simply from living in a broken, fallen world where mankind’s individual and collective rebellion has rendered disastrous consequences upon all of us. But I do believe that as a master diamond cutter God uses all our pain to cut rich facets of character into the simple stones of who we are so that we may reflect His glory more brilliantly throughout eternity.
Dust to Glory
From dust….to glory! What a privilege! What a joy! From dirt to diamond! Wow…simply amazing! Want something worthwhile to pursue with your life? I cannot imagine anything more rewarding. Wondering if it’s worth it to keep going when life gets really hard? Paul says, “Oh, yeah!!!” Need some encouragement to get back on the path of following Jesus? Here it is! God says, “Trust me!” Let’s keep going….I see light at the end of the tunnel….oh wait…..that’s His glory coming to meet us!