Page the Second


A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I spent the day helping hunt down a friend's runaway son with her. We have been scorching the ground out from under him, making it uncomfortable for those who help him to run. I hurt for this fine family. I can't imagine the anguish they must be feeling, knowing as they do, that they love their son and want him to live happily with them; wanting him to understand their love and the measures they must take to keep him safe and help him to reach his potential.

We go to church and see these families who have such mountainous problems and we secretly rejoice that at least that is not our family. And then suddenly it is. We find ourselves facing things we never ever thought would happen to our own, back when we were wide-eyed innocents and planning out our perfect lives. For some reason we think that we will be the perfect ones, slipping unscathed through life's cavalcade of drama. We think for some reason that none of life's unconscionable, painful, or embarrassing disasters will stick to us like the 'oobleck' in Dr. Seuss's 'Bartholomew and the Oobleck' book. But they do.

Sooner or later we must all pass through the Refiner's Fire and be proven either a diamond of rare water or a smudge of dross. It is said that the only difference between a bit of carbon and a fine diamond is great pressure. We float through life hoping we will magically become a diamond, avoiding the massive stress, without which a diamond cannot be made. It will not happen. A diamond can only be made after having passed through the experiences that will perfect it, re-aligning bonds to make it not only the most beautiful of stones, but the hardest.

Christ himself knew these principles. He knew He could not fulfill the measure of His creation without passing through the fire to come out the other side. How can we, his little brothers and sisters, think that we can arrive where He is, without at least some of the same kind of testing?

The wonderful, saving grace is that we don't have to go through this process alone. We have Christ to stand with us, as Daniel's friends stood together in the Babylonian king's fiery furness. Christ has already passed through the fire, and now shows the way for us. He stands sentinel and helping friend and guiding light all in one. How very thankful I am that I don't have to do it alone.

I only hope that I can withstand the tempering process to emerge, if not unscathed, at least a diamond of pure water.

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