Square Pegs in Round Holes…or Jagged Edges?

See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

Isaiah 48:10 NIV

Several years ago I attended a farewell dinner for a colleague who resigned to pursue other employment. We valued his professionalism and competence. There wasn’t a dry eye around our table as we contemplated the void his departure would make in our department.

Over dinner and thanks, he commented he enjoyed working with us, but said in relationship to our company, he wasn’t a good fit. He described himself as a “square peg in a round hole”.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when two of my friends who don’t know each other and are from different seasons in my life, each emailed me saying they are experiencing difficult situations. Their plights are distinctively different, but have the same effect: disappointments, tears and frustration. It seems they are square pegs in round holes where they are right now. As they explained their trials to me, they pled for resolution and asked for prayer.

My friend’s gifts and talents were better utilized elsewhere. His decision to leave was right. But sometimes, resolution to our difficulty isn’t as easy—or right­­--as leaving a job for a better fit. Perhaps we’re not the square peg, but a round peg with jagged edges. Difficult people in our lives, taxing situations, disappointment at unmet goals, and challenges that wear on us, may not be square pegs as much as sanding and refining tools so the peg fits in the intended round hole. 

Who doesn’t want to be happy and see problems fixed? We all do. But often jagged edges are not fixed by removing a problem. They are often designed to be made smooth as we conform to the image of Christ. (Romans 8:28-31)

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:3-5 NLT