“I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”~Zechariah 13:9 NIV
Grapes must first be crushed before becoming wine. Coal must bear extreme pressure to become a diamond. And oysters must endure prolonged irritation to develop a pearl.
Isn’t it interesting that for these things to reach their greatest value, they must first endure a great hardship? It is in the pressure, stress, and irritation that we too are offered an opportunity to be transformed from the common and everyday to the extraordinary. It can be extremely painful to endure loss, disappointment, or grief, but in the skilled hands of our loving Father, the pain always has a purpose.
When we plunge our trust fully in Him, what emerges from the fiery flames of testing will be purified, strengthened, resilient, and precious. These painful experiences serve to mold and shape us into the image of the Son.
The Lord once told me, “Do not despise the tools I use to shape you.” It is easy enough to say this in good times, but in grief and loss, those ten words are a bitter pill.
Beloved, if you are in a season of joy, tuck away these truths for your future. If you are in the heat of the crucible, take hold of the hope and promise offered.
Are you being tested, or experiencing exuberant joy? Trust God no matter the season.
Father God, I call upon Your Name. Be with me in the crucible. Assure me of not only Your presence but also of the great depths of Your love and that my pain has a purpose. The intense heat of the purifying fire can feel more like punishment than love when I don’t understand Your plan. So, Lord, breathe on the embers of my faith. Whisper hope into the pain. Use my suffering for Your glory, transforming me into the image of Your Son. And in Your compassion, Father, answer, for You alone are my God.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright 2021: The Promise of the Crucible: Julie Souza Bradley Lilly: All Rights Reserved