But how do we remain steadfast when we lose our job, a loved one dies, we wrestle with gripping addiction, or a friend betrays us? Life can be full of painful trials, some so unexpected, we are at a loss, at first, about how to ever gain victory over them. We can feel baffled that God would allow us such suffering if, in fact, he truly loved us.
Tested by Fire
I’ve certainly had my share of trials and testing over the years. Some have lasted many long seasons, way past any limits I thought I had. But, of course, that’s the point. God is in the business of stretching us, changing us from the inside out, refining our character so that we are free from impurities and become more like him. Why? So we can be useful in the Master’s hands and be a blessing to others. Suffering is one of the tools he uses to accomplish this inner transformation and get us ready.
|Isaiah 48:10 says: “I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.”|
God is loving and just and even suffering is only for a season. I Peter 4:12 tells us: “Dear
friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you…” I Peter 5:10 continues: “…after you have suffered a little while, [God] will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
God needs his children to be strong, mature and steadfast. When the storms of life hit, he needs us to have that inner peace and confidence in him so we can provide strength, guidance and encouragement to a frightened, non-believing world.
It’s Also About Others
Ultimately, spiritual training is not only about us, but others who don’t yet know him. As believers, we are already saved, loved, forgiven, provided for, and secure. God allows trials to enlarge our hearts so we can reach a dying world for Christ.
That is why he died, and that is why we live.
|“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Heb. 12:11)|
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Art by Ruth Palmer