I once watched a documentary about I.M. Pei, the famous architect who designed the new entrance to the Louvre, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Bank of China building in Hong Kong (among other things).
He was talking about his father, who "farmed" rocks in the ocean to "harvest" for rock gardens. His father would place huge rocks in the ocean and remove them ten to twenty years later. When he did so, the rocks would each have smooth edges and be in unique formations that no man could have chiseled. The rocks would be used as centerpieces in gardens - one-of-a-kind works of art.
I couldn't sleep last night, and as I lay in bed I said to God, "Okay, is there something You want to say to me, because I could really use some direction right now." I received no direct response, but my mind suddenly remembered these rocks.
It is only after years of being buffeted by ocean waves and storms that these rocks gain value and become beautiful. Without the buffeting, they would still be... plain old rocks. I couldn't help but relate this to my own life and the challenges I face - we ALL face. If I stay focused on God, on the bigger picture, on learning whatever it is God wants to teach me, if I remain patient and persevere instead of running away toward something "easier", then maybe I can come through these challenges with smoother edges, more beautiful.
I think there is potential in each one of us to become one-of-a-kind masterpieces. The question is, will I - will you - trust God through the storms and waves?