To begin, I had to roll out the clay which is hard and stiff when you first start to work it. Once I had shaped it's body parts, I had to use sharp tools to form the "fur" on the bear. I sculpted the face, the eyes, nose and mouth with the same sharp instruments. I created the jacket out of clay and "dressed" the bear. Then he was placed in a hot oven so that the clay would set. Finally I painted him to look exactly like we do at work. A final coat of polyurethane finished him off. He turned out so well and I was proud to give him to my dear friend.
If my little bear were to have feelings, there would have been many times the process would have been painful to him. I'm sure the rolling out of the clay would have been too forceful to have felt good. The sharp instruments surely would have produced pain and the hot oven. . . I don't even want to think about it. Fortunately for him, he was only made out of clay.
We too, as Christians, are in the process of being formed and conformed.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose.
For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren."
We are being "conformed to the image of His Son" and sometimes that means the Lord must allow painful things into our lives. Those painful things help to keep us dependent upon Him and in communication with Him. They help to correct us, to instruct us in righteousness and to give us a heart of understanding for the pains and sufferings of others. They change us.
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
2 Corinthians 3:18
Let us not resist the workings together for good in our lives by our Heavenly Father, but let us remember that all these things are used to change us "from glory to glory" and to change us from our own image to the image of "His dear Son."