On my very first trip into the USSR many years ago I was surprised to find a bright little store in an otherwise drab and grey town. We were guided to a back-alley by a taxi driver who behaved as if he were revealing a State secret. The small shop had beautiful porcelain pottery. I bought several pieces and carefully packed them for my trip home. Upon arrival I opened my suitcase and found all but one piece broken; they had not been sufficiently heated in the kiln. I do not like going through the furnace of affliction, yet it is the the fire that strengthens me for what is next. Father, You are the Potter, I am the clay. Grant me grace for the kiln that I may have fortitude for the journey.
John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come” is an allegory written while he was imprisoned for his Christian beliefs. Until we reach the Golden Gates of Heaven we must progress in our walk of faith here on earth. Each time I think I understand God’s ways and means He turns the diamond and new facets of His splendor emerge. For the true believer there is no spiking the ball in the end zone on this side of Glory; there is no settling down where we are in this life. Not only am I tolerant of this constantly changing status, I am genuinely thankful for it. I am being pulled toward eternal purpose that I cannot fathom but I instinctively know awaits me. So I’ll keep my shoes on until it’s over. Lord, though I struggle in Your arms, You never let me go. Keep me moving toward Your perfect will. Help me never miss a turn or stop unnecessarily. Keep me progressing toward Your perfect will.