“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” – Khalil
What if the very ‘blessing’ God desires to give you requires some form of trial and suffering for you to obtain it… would you enter into it? Would you turn away? Would you want it to stop or give up before reaching the goal? One of the biggest things I am asked to pray for is that someone not experience pain or suffering… I have asked for it myself. But does not learning require it? Consider anything you have of value.. did it require some form of trial and pain to obtain it? And what would it be worth if it was just given to you… if it was mediocre?
The answer is it’s worth little or nothing.
Consider the refining process of silver. The ore is heated to approximately 970 degrees and in doing so, all the ‘impurities’ called dross rise to the top and are skimmed away. Again and again the refiner returns the ore to the crucible, exposing it to the blistering heat, each time more ‘impurities’ rise to the surface, and the master gently skims them away, each time leaving behind something more precious and of greater value. To gauge his progress, the master refiner looks for his own reflection in the silver filled crucible. The more dross that is removed, the less distorted His reflection becomes. When He sees his ‘clear’ or ‘perfect’ reflection, his careful intention of producing something of great worth and value is complete.
That is what our God desires to do with you. Jeremiah writes, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” – Jeremiah 29:11. God has a tremendous plan for you, it’s amazing… even extraordinary! But to get there, to obtain His ‘perfect’ will, you must be refined. You know this from playing a sport, learning an instrument, pursuing an education, and even a career. The discipline, hard work, and sacrifice necessary to acquire anything of value in those pursuits are immense. How much more so then, when the objective is your character, faith, and ultimately love?
Suffering has a way of reminding us that we are finite and limited. Suffering makes clear our need for help and a hand up, that we are interdependent and unable to obtain autonomy. What God is offering you is greater than this; it is His very nature He desires to refine out of you. But He does not force you into the crucible, you must choose for yourself. Jeremiah goes on to say, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me” (v.13). It is only when we turn and seek Him that we find the answers we are looking for… what is my purpose? Who am I? Where am I going?
How has God got your attention? What struggle are you facing? Would you even consider His plan, if you were not in pain?
Maybe your struggle or pain is the very door He has set for you to walk through in order to obtain His blessing. Would you even be considering it if He had not ‘smacked you in the face’ somehow to get your attention?
Our God has wonderful blessings prepared for you. How do I know that? Consider ‘the way’ we must travel through to receive them. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.” So if the ‘way’ to receiving Gods wonderful gifts is first through the door of Jesus’ sacrifice, and that sacrifice was made at infinite cost to Him, how valuable are the gifts we will receive on the other side by grace? Are they not therefore of ‘infinite’ worth, ‘more precious than gold or silver and precious stones?’
God stands by the crucible and invites you to get in. Our Savior implores you to enter into the furnace, and promises to go with you. He reminds you that He has been there before, that He knows the way, and has defeated the most intense of enemies, both sin and death. He reminds you of others who have gone before… Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Daniel in the lion’s den, and maybe someone you know personally who has faced great adversity and yet their faith in Jesus shines above their tragedy….
I pray you step into Gods plan for you, allowing Him to gently and with great patience and care, skim the dross from your life, revealing His perfect reflection in you. I pray you reach out and take hold of the scarred hand that loves you with every ounce of His being, and enter into ‘the way.’
“Greater love has no man than this, that He lay down His life for His friends… you are His friend.
Praying 4 U…
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, and grandfather with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is a member of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.
Daily Quote: “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” – Romans 8:31-32
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
When the righteous rejoice, there is great glory; But when the wicked arise, men hide themselves. Proverbs 28:12