Deep under the earth’s surface, subject to intense heat and pressure, created as time unfolds and unfolds, a precious stone of great price is formed. The stone sleeps in the darkness of its secret underground world until the earth heaves and turns. Then water finds its way through fresh nooks and crannies forming streams and eventually a wild river. The water courses over the stone for time and time again, until the stone is loosed and washed into the torrent.
Now the stone looks like lumps of sugar all stuck together. It is driven hard by the river waters until it catches fast and nestles quietly amongst some tall, wind blown grasses by the side of a secluded river cove. One day, as the sun rises, a boy called Azizi whose name means Beloved, comes singing and fishing by the old river bank. He catches sight of the stone warmed by the sunshine, glistening amongst the swaying grasses. Azizi knows the feel and look of a precious stone of great price; he has heard stories about them from his grandfather.
He picks the stone up, carefully puts it into his bag and runs home as fast as he was made to run.
"Mama, Mama, look what I found!" he says. He jumps up and down for joy.
That night everyone in the village dances. Joyful messages are sent out so that a few days later the great Craftsman comes to the village to inspect Azizi’s stone. The Craftsman examines the stone with great reverence,
"Oh my friend," He exclaims. "You have found a wonder! I will sell everything I possess to buy it from you."
Solemnly, Azizi promises to keep the stone safe until the Craftsman returns. The sun rises and sets while Azizi sings and fishes, counting out time, waiting. The Craftsman keeps His promise. He has sold everything He has to buy the precious stone. He smiles as wide as a river as He wraps the stone gently and takes it home. He cleans it, cuts it and polishes it until it sparkles and shines like the crystals in a snowflake.
The stone that lay in darkness, crushed by the earth, buffeted by the river, lost in the tall grasses has been found. It has been bought at great price, and refined in the hands of the Craftsman until its incredible beauty is revealed.
Whatever the darkness and the pressures of life, God knows who you are. He paid the ultimate price for you. He will work in your heart and in your life until your beauty is revealed. You have been redeemed, you are treasured, you are irreplaceable to Him. Just as you are, you are loved.
"I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." Isaiah 45 v2-3, NIV
He believes in you.