As the story goes, a little piece of wood once bitterly complained because its owner kept whittling away at it, gouging it and making holes in it. But the one who was cutting it paid no attention to the stick’s protests. He was making a flute out of that piece of ebony, and he was too wise to stop when the wood complained so bitterly.

The man said, “Little piece of wood, without these rifts and holes, and all this cutting, you’d be just a stick forever—a useless piece of ebony. What I am doing now may seem as if I am destroying you, but instead it will change you into a flute. Your sweet music will charm the souls of many and comfort sorrowing hearts. My cutting you is the making of you, for only thus can you be a blessing in the world.”

The meaning of this little parable is clear: That flute, whose music blended so sweetly in the orchestra, was made a flute only by the knife and file that filled it with rifts and holes which seemed to be its very destruction. But the purpose of the master was that it might become a melodious instrument to the praise of God.

The Lord is shaping us. Let’s be patient and allow His chastening to do its work in our lives.