by: Rich Vaughan
Yesterday’s devotional spoke about how a silversmith holds the silver they are working on in the fire until they can see “their image reflected”. That was when they knew that the Silver was finished. The story I shared in that devotional compared us to the silver and God as the silversmith as we walked through the fires in our lives. The end result being we are complete once we “reflect” the silversmith’s (God) image.
Not everyone is comfortable with that image and theology. It sounds more like the God of the Old Testament than the one Jesus shares in the New Testament. Does God put us in the fire to help us become better Christians? Are the hard parts of life tests for us to see if we will continue to reflect God’s image in our lives? I don’t think God deliberately brings hard things into our lives to test us. However, I do believe that when the hard times come, God is at work to bring growth and good out of those moments. But is that scriptural? What does our Bible say? Here are some scriptures for us to ponder as we wrestle with this question.
I Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, DO NOT BE SURPRISED at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
Peter is saying…this is life. There are good moments and bad moments. Fun times and hard times, so why are we surprised when there is a turn in our lives?
James 1:2 tells us, “COUNT IT ALL JOY my brothers and sisters when you meet trials of various kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces endurance;”
That is a hard one. I usually am not happy when my faith is tested and a fiery trial pops up. I don’t know if I COUNT IT ALL JOY, but I understand what James is saying. That moment can be a moment when our faith grows and when our discipleship matures. In other words, it is easy to love God and trust God when everything is going great. But the true measuring stick for us is during the moments of trials, do we still love God, do we still have faith?
Bottom line ….in the midst of hardship do we TRUST GOD? Paul really addresses the same issue when he writes in II Corinthians 12:10, “For the sake of Christ, then, I AM CONTENT WITH WEAKNESS, INSULTS, HARDSHIPS, PERSECUTIONS, AND CALAMITIES. FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG.” Paul understood that when he was exhausted from the fight, when he had nothing left but God, God was enough. That is a lesson for all of us! In this crazy hard year, it is a point we should remember time and time again. Why? Because one of the interesting truths of our faith is it seems our weakness gives the Lord a chance to do great and mighty things. Finally, there is one last scripture I want to share with you today as we ponder moments of trials and hardships. Theologians have always reminded us that God answers every prayer 3 ways. “Yes, No, Wait”. Psalm 27:14 reminds us how true the wait part is… “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and LET YOUR HEART TAKE COURAGE; wait for the Lord.” Simply put, let God Be God, trust Him. And in the end, maybe that is the answer we need as we reflect on the refiner’s fire. Amen & Amen.