Although most of us would love to have the heroic faith of the men and women mentioned in Hebrews 11, few of us are willing to go through the process God uses to develop this kind of trust. We love reading about the great victories and accomplishments of those who relied upon the Lord, but we cringe at the descriptions in verses 36-38. Though none of us want to go through horrible situations, God uses adversity to purify our faith.
Picture the Lord as a master sculptor standing before a block of marble—that slab is you! Envisioning the hidden work of art within the rock, He lovingly and carefully chips away at everything that does not fit the masterpiece He’s creating.
One of the first areas the Lord deals with is your character. His goal is to shape you into the image of His Son, and there are some traits and attitudes that must be chipped away in order for Him to accomplish the task. His chisel lays bare roots of sin and selfishness.
When anything or anyone becomes more important to us than the Lord, we have an idol in our life. To protect us, God sometimes uses adversity to strip away everything we have relied upon so that we will cling only to Him.
The chisel hurts—it sometimes feels as if God is taking away everything we hold dear. Unless you understand His goal and believe He’s working for your good, you’ll think He’s cruel. But if you trust Him and yield to His shaping tool of adversity, your faith will be purified and strengthened through affliction.