Most Christians would love to have the heroic trust of the men and women mentioned in Hebrews 11. Few of us, however, would willingly undergo the process God uses to develop this kind of dynamic faith. We enjoy reading about the great victories and accomplishments of those who trusted the Lord, but we cringe at their hardships, listed in Hebrews 11:35-38. None of us want to go through suffering, yet adversity is one of the ways God purifies 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, He lovingly and carefully chips away everything that does not fit the masterpiece He is creating.
Character. 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 exposes imperfections like pride and selfishness.
Idolatry. When anything or anyone becomes more important to us than the Lord, it is an idol in our life. To protect us, God will sometimes use adversity to strip away everything we have relied upon so that we’ll cling only to Him.
The chisel hurts—it sometimes feels as if the Lord 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.