I had not planned to write on this topic, but it seems to be where God is working at present. Recently a friend requested prayer because it seemed like everything was going wrong in his life. There are numerous issues with work, lack of work, former employers, health issues, family issues, even pet issues. He was simply at his wit’s end and literally fighting to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Ever been there?
I was there once myself, although in my case it was more about relationships than work. I suspect that is a male/female difference. The interesting thing is, I came to see it eventually as a form of God’s refining fire. My pastor usually refers to the refiner’s fire in terms of those who experience persecution due to their faith. But because of my experience, I think God can also use the normal pressures and stresses of life to form us more fully into His image.
I read somewhere a description of what actually happens when metals are refined. First they are heated to a precise temperature at which they will melt but not burn. Then, once melted, the impurities float to the top and are removed carefully by the master craftsman, who knows when the process is finished because the molten metal will reflect his face. Obviously, if we consider ourselves the metal and God the craftsman, you can see the analogy. Who wouldn’t want to accurately reflect the face of God? But it apparently takes an awful lot of heat and skimming to get to that point!
Of course, we are not inanimate objects like metal, so when things heat up, we are inclined to protest. This is not fair God. Are you trying to kill me? What do you want from me? Why is this happening to me? God of course, seems to simply ignore our protests because He knows exactly what He is doing. It seems like maybe He would rather we just laid there like inanimate objects and let Him do whatever it is He intends to do. Well, I don’t think we are quite capable of stopping our conversation with Him though it would help if we didn’t keep trying to get away from Him.
But wait, could it be that it is all a matter of trust? Ouch! I know when I was in that position, that was the one thing God asked of me. Trust. Do I really trust God? Well, of course I do, in theory. But in that situation, it sure seemed like an area I needed to grow in. I think many of us have had experiences with people that lead us to be less trusting with everyone, including God. But God is not willing to leave us there so He sometimes puts us in positions where trusting Him is all we can do. Do you want to have faith like those biblical characters who say even if God kills me, I will trust Him? Well, how else can you get there, but practicing in whatever situation you find yourself in today? I asked God to teach me how and though I was often anxious, because it seemed I had no control whatsoever, He was faithful and saw me through it. I’m still learning. I think it may take the rest of my life to really learn how to fully trust God, but He is worth it.