As we study these words it would be easy to deduce that there is no room in the spiritual life for struggles – or even in the conversion to that life. It appears as if the entire edifice rises softly, silently, almost magically. So, we are tempted to think that there couldn’t be any understanding in that temple for the inner struggles of the soul. But then, on closer inspection, we find that actually the stone’s struggle was over before the building ever began. In fact, this verse plainly says that the structure was built with stones that were finished at the quarry. In other words, the materials used in this building were finished before they were ever brought forth and put in place.
What an amazing and encouraging truth those seven little words contain. Before those stones were brought together they were isolated, separated from each other. Before they were placed into the silent stage of the structure every single stone had to go through a time of great noise and conflict, a time of being hammered and hewn, chiseled and polished so that they would be in perfect symmetry with each other.
What an obvious hint at the great spiritual conflict that takes place in making us ready to be used by God. Oh, it may be just a flash that passes through our mind, but what a flash it is! It is a flash that lights up our entire experience and shows our very self to us. It says that the silence isn’t the first thing, but rather the last thing; that there is a process behind the proportioning before the stone is put in place. It tells us that Saul had his own struggle before Heaven’s light flashed before Him making it so very hard to kick against the goads. It tells me that Nicodemus had to have his solitary stroll that night before He could take up the crucified Christ from the cross’ shadow – a walk where he felt deserted by the old yet not quite convinced of the new.
The amazing comfort of this verse is the message that it has to so many struggling souls. Are there times where that inner unrest bothers you? Are there times where you feel tossed on a sea of uncertainty? Are there days when you trod through a desert of doubt? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this means that there’s no place for you in His temple. In fact, this just goes to show that there is a place for you. The struggle you are going through means that you are being made ready for your place there. The cacophony in your conscience is the sound of your stoney soul being brought into symmetry – symmetry that will make you a perfect fit for your place in Christ’s building. The solitude you feel in your soul doesn’t mean that you’ve been neglected. The struggle in your spirit isn’t evidence of the absence of God from your life. In fact, just the opposite – it is the very evidence of His presence. You have been taken into the desert so that you could be made ready. The uncomfort you experience is the proof of His interest and affection for you. It is simply the sign that He is preparing you for your special place in His temple. Your desert is the vestibule to heaven. Bless the Lord, O my soul and praise His holy name!