When God intends to greatly use a man, He often anoints him through great suffering. The forging process strengthens, sharpens, and often refines the instrument for a most effective work. As 1 Peter 1:3-9 informs us, hardship proves our faith genuine and results in much glory, praise, and honor being given to the Savior on our account. In this vein, I’d like to share a poem about God’s process of molding a man for Himself:
“When God wants to drill a man
And thrill a man
And skill a man,
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!
How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!
How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses
And with every purpose fuses him;
By every act induces him
To try His splendour out–
God knows what He’s about!”
Robert Murry M’Cheyne, the late Scottish preacher, who died at the age of 29 before which the great Scottish revival took place (seemingly in large measure as a result of his faithful life and preaching ministry) said, “It is not great talents God blesses so much as likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.” May God raise up a generation of holy men and women who penetrate this dark world with the piercing light of Christ.
 J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 150-151.