I have people. In my life. They irritate me. It’s hard to be around them. They are a thorn in my side. They are my sandpaper people.
Sandpaper People: Those people who are abrasive, irritating or generally rough to be around.
They are mine because the Lord has placed them in my life. Forever? Until tomorrow? I don’t know.
The other day my sandpaper people were out in full force, assaulting me. They scraped the dry, cracked, skin right off my arms. They pushed every button I have, and then pushed them again! They were irritating and hard to be around.
I prayed “Lord, help me to deal with this person!”
He replied, “Look at this person. They just want to BE someone. They want to be acknowledged. They want to feel like they matter.”
I saw their huge ego; Christ saw the huge hurt in their heart.
I prayed “Lord, I can hardly tolerate this person. They are so loud and obnoxious – help me!”
He replied, “Listen to them. They just want to be loved and needed. They just want someone to respond to their voice with kindness. Can’t you do that?”
I heard their loud, offensive voice. He heard their cry for help.
During my devotional time, I have been working through “Experiencing God” by Henry and Richard Blackaby. The lesson that very irritating day was this:
Watch to see where God is working, and join Him.
I cried out “Lord, where are You at work HERE?
He replied, “This is where I’m working, Ellen – I’m working in you. I want you to see their pain. I want you to love the unlovable. I’m working in you…won’t you join me?”
And so I did. I prayed in repentance asking forgiveness for my self-centered tunnel vision. I prayed for patience. I prayed for eyes to see them the way Christ saw them: hurting people who need to be shown love and compassion.
God was at work. He was using the sandpaper people to polish my rough edges. He was smoothing out the grit and hard places on me, polishing me into the shining image of His Son Jesus.
Will I allow the sandpaper people to scrape me up? Or will I allow God to smooth me out? Will I join God where He’s working – even when He’s working on me? Was I willing?
Are you willing?
Colossians 3:13-14 (NLT) Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Photography by John Chauvin