A Lump of Coal


Our family is currently living through some very disappointing circumstances. A family member has left us to find what was missing in his life, leaving us missing him. The funny thing is, in the midst of our grief, God has given us beauty. We have experienced His love in some very tangible ways. His strength has given us peace, and a knowing that He does not intend to destroy us. His goal is good, bringing spiritual growth through a stronger and more focused relationship with Him.

I wrote this a few years back and thought it appropriate to share again. Perhaps you have received a bit of coal in your life recently. Before you judge its meaning, think about what it can bring.


A Lump of Coal

I stared at the piece of coal.

This was the answer?

I had prayed, after all, with great earnestness, even invoking the name of Jesus, the solution I thought best. This was not what should’ve happened. Was this some kind of joke?

I’m not laughing, God.

Brokenness and discouragement seeped into my soul. Then, loneliness joined the twosome. Life slid to a stop. The future seemed dark and cold and void.

I don’t deserve this! My whole being screamed. I wanted to fling that chunk of disappointment far from sight.

It’s OK. I’ve got this, sounded softly in my ear. The coal is a gift.

Unsure if I agreed, I turned the coal over and over. God was in the habit of blessing us with more than just our wants. He always gave us just what we needed. Here in the midst of my misery, He had not delivered the answer I had devised, but rather the one that would bring the greatest treasure.

I clutched the coal close to my heart. After all, this bit of blackness was how all diamonds started out. In the end, I believed, a precious gem would be produced, valuable, and full of beauty.

Thanks for thinking of me, God. I will treasure it forever.


“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”

C.S. Lewis

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Jan Cleveland says:

    Loved the symbolism!

    1. Patty Schell says:

      Thanks, Jan. ❤

  2. Oh this is so true and so well spoken. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    1. Patty Schell says:

      Thanks friend. How’s you book doing?

  3. So beautiful, Patty, and oh, so true! May that “coal moment” your family is enduring at the moment turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

    1. Patty Schell says:

      It already has had some positive outcome. We pray in the end everyone is better for the experience.

  4. K.A. Wypych says:

    Yes, it’s so true how something can seem like “coal” only to have God turn it into something beautiful!

  5. Praying for you and yours, dear friend. I have confidence that our Lord will bring something beautiful to your lives.

  6. We’ve kind of had a lump of coal year too, but I’m beginning to see glimpses of what God may be doing.
    But even if it’s nothing but the lesson we’ve been walking out, clung to Him, no matter what, it’s been a growth experience.

    1. Patty Schell says:

      I’m sorry to hear you have coal too, but Good can and will do amazing things with it. Coal is also something that is used to create power, generate electricity for light, and bring warmth. Watch for those things. We have already seen power, light, and warmth in our situation as we meet each day. Take care.

  7. Debbie W. Wilson says:

    Beautiful reminder!

  8. Katherine Pasour says:

    I suppose we all receive those lumps of coal. Seems like it would get easier with practice! But…it doesn’t. Loved the C.S. Lewis quote. God does have that plan for us and those lumps of coal are part of his guidance.

    1. Patty Schell says:

      Yes, never easier it seems but each time God proves Himself again.

Leave a Reply to marthajaneorlando Cancel reply