Monday, February 16, 2009

Are You Enduring the Fire?

Have you ever felt like you were in the middle of the middle of the fire? Did you feel like it was THE all consuming fire, and you were what was being consumed? The fire I've recently been enduring is slowly turning to burning embers, and I finally feel like I'm coming to the other side. It's been a very HOT two and a half months during one of the coldest winters we've had in years.

In retrospect, I can say that I know that I know that God had a plan and a purpose for every moment of the fire I have endured. He is slowly bringing to light how He is working it out not only for my good, but to fulfill the plan and purpose He has had for me from the foundation of the earth. I also know that He cannot move me fully into that plan and purpose until I have endured the tests and trials of preparation.

Gladly, He says in Isaiah 43:2, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you." And if you remember the three youths thrown into the firey furnace, they were not alone! There was a fourth man in the fire! (I've always thought that is a great name for a song or a book...Fourth Man in the Fire...") When you are enduring the blue of the flame, He's not just watching over you from afar. He is with you in the fire!!!

Remember these three things as you endure the firey trials of this life. Firstly, He will never leave you nor forsake you, but is actually with you. That is His Word to you. And He is as good as His Word. But that's another blog for another day.

Secondly, He will show you, oh man, oh woman, what is good. He will bring you to the other side, and the you that does not reflect Him will be consumed--so that only HE remains.

Third, as you come from the fire, neither being burned nor smelling of smoke, you will then be ready for God to lead you to the place where you can fulfill the plan and purpose He has for you. You will have proved yourself, pure as silver in His sight and worthy of the trial you endured and the mission He has before you.

Many years ago, I came across the following story that sums up the answer to the "WHY, LORD" questions we ask as we are going through. I apologize in advance as I do know not know nor could find the author. I was stunned by the "moral" of the story, and I share it with you so that you can remember the reason the Lord leads us to places that seem so difficult.

"There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three, they came across verse three which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver...". This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.

That week the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, the silversmith held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot - then she thought again about the verse, that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, how do you know when the silver is fully refined? He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy--when I see my image in it."

What does He see when He looks at you? What does the world see? My heart is that I would be a reflection of His love to anyone who looks, that I might be the mirror that shows the world what Jesus looks like.

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you. And the end product, you'll look more like HIM! That is worth any firey trial!

3 comments:

  1. Ooh..this one's a real burner! It relates to a lot of what I've been reading in Oswald's devotionals lately. I'm glad that you've been able to find the right perspective regarding your situation. How else could he purify and refine you but through your circumstances? When you're aware of what's going on, you can stand still until the dross falls. Btw, I see His image in you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I so need to talk to you today...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've been thru that refiner's fire in my health and it lasted for several years. It was physically extremely painful and caused me to quit work and lose my business and I found myself saying to God " How long can this go on ? " Why are you doing this to me, when I'm doing everything I can to serve you and your people. Finally I got hooked up with the correct treatment and now I'm on the other side of all that looking back. It's so wonderful to be pain-free and have my life back to normal. I can see now that God was rooting out some deep impurities in my spirit and he made me a better person, a better husband, a better father and grandfather. The trial of fire is not something I would wish for anyone, however I've learned to let people work on thru it when I see them in it. I don't pray for God to stop it, but for the person to patiently endure it for the benefits God has in store for them. It's not easy to come out of the world in order to enter God's heavenly kingdom as a child of his. The world is so familiar and comfortable for us, and the kingdom so foreign and strange. All I know is that I want to be more like Jesus as time goes by. Michael

    ReplyDelete