The chisel and mallet of affliction!
(John MacDuff, "Ripples in the Twilight" 1885)
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son!" Romans 8:28-29
In that great block of uncut marble, there is, in the mind of the sculptor, a slumbering angel. As chip by chip flies off, the form becomes crudely and slowly developed. In the course of time — after months of long labor — his conception is realized, and the masterpiece is completed.
God is the Supreme Sculptor, and it is very often by the chisel and mallet of affliction that He is now fabricating and fashioning His people for Heaven. The tools are in His hands. Let us trust Him that no stroke is unnecessary or redundant in the working out of His own Divine ideal, which is nothing short of this, "to be conformed to the image of His Son."
"Now He who has fashioned us ('chiseled' — so the word means) for this very thing is God." (2 Corinthians 5:5)