In God’s throne room there are two rooms, one on each side. They are named the Wonderful Room and the Workshop Room. In the Wonderful Room there is plush, beautiful carpet and spectacular views of the universe through the artfully decorated drapes. In this room the chairs are padded with sheep skin, and you enjoy the love, grace, majesty, compassion and glory of God, face to face; Glory which illuminates the entire area.
The Workshop Room is quite different in every degree. It is dimly lit by a single light bulb hanging at the end of a long black electrical cord that is suspended over a large anvil. Next to the anvil is a very simple worktable, one like a 1st century Jewish Carpenter might have made. On this table is a hammer and chisel from the same time period.
Since this room is not as brightly lit, the children always approach the cue for the Wonderful Room, though occasionally one might approach the Workshop Room. Most of the time you hear cries and sounds of great anguish coming out of this room as all the people in heaven realize that God has the chisel and hammer in His hand and is using them to remove the flesh, sins, and pridefulness from one of His children He loves with all His heart.
Only the one on the anvil does not understand this process is the loving work of the Father and so they scream and run out of the room to avoid the fellowship of the sufferings of the Carpenter that made the table. They will run fast past the lines waiting for entrance to the Wonderful Room.
Eventually, by faith, the child returns and climbs back onto the anvil and the Father continues His work of purifying and sculpting something pure and strong. When the Lord has completed this refining work, He hugs the child and the sound of this embrace drowns out the joy in the Wonderful room.
It is only then that the child remembers the words inscribed over the entrance to the Workshop Room—In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls...but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. (1 Peter 1:6-9; 4:13)
At this point, many in the Wonderful Room wonder when they will experience this kind of love in this way; Love that takes the time to personally shape something New and Perfect. Is it your time for the anvil?
Sometimes we misinterpret the work of suffering in our lives. At Crossway we love helping folks understand the mysterious ways God works to exclaim His love and care for us. Give us a call. We would love to talk with you.