Billy Graham told the story about a man walking who came upon the site of a newly constructed cathedral. The stone mason was busy at a work bench shaping the last piece, the piece that went on the very top of the spire.
The man inquired about what the mason was doing.
“Well,” he replied, “I’m shaping it down here, so it will fit in up there,” pointing to the sky.
19Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2)
Another story tells of a man watching a craftsman working with silver. He would smelt the silver under intense heat, and the impurities would float to the top where they were removed by the craftsman.
“How do you know when it’s ready?” asked the watcher.
The craftsman replied “I can see my reflection in it.”
2“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap.
3He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord An offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3)
12I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12)
Someone rightly said Christians are not immune to the trials common to life on this world.
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1)
16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
18Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4)