The Fiery Trial
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My husband has faint scars on his arms and hands.
It was not unusual to get the occasional burn at his former place of employment. He once worked at a die-cast factory, forcing molten metal into molds to form automotive parts.
The process began by putting chunks of impure metal into a hot furnace.
Then, once the metal melted, the refiner would throw in handfuls of granules that helped to separate the impurities from the pure liquid metal. These impurities looked like clumps of black lava as they broke loose and floated to the top of the silver molten liquid. The refiner then used a large metal tool to skim the surface and remove them.
This process continued until no further impurities floated to the top.
But the real way to know if the metal was free of impurities came when the refiner leaned over and looked upon the vat of liquid metal. When he saw his reflection—like looking into a mirror—he knew it was ready.
In 1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT, believers in Christ were told:
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”
Most Christians would not consider fiery trials and suffering as reasons to be very glad. In fact, it seems logical that such things should be avoided.
In Matthew 16:21, Jesus told His disciples about how He would suffer terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He said he would even be killed. But He added that on the third day, He would be raised from the dead.
This did not make sense to Jesus’ disciples.
“Heaven forbid, Lord,” Peter said to Jesus in verse 22. “This will never happen to you!” Peter probably thought he was being loyal, even a good friend.
But in verse 23, Jesus said:
“Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
In verse 24, Jesus said to His disciples,
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.”
Following Christ—even during the hard times—promises great rewards for believers.
This spiritual refining process helps Christians to identify with Christ’s sufferings. It also helps sanctify us from those sinful habits that try to weigh us down in life — to keep us from accomplishing God’s purpose for our lives.
So, when the Lord allows the heat to get turned up in our lives at times, it is not for nothing. He is the Refiner who removes these impurities from us so that His reflection is evident to all.
He is molding us into a strong creation that is not easily broken. He is shaping us into His own likeness.
Dear Father, Help us to see those fiery trials like You see them—so we may discern what is something to fight and what is something to embrace, while looking for the lesson in disguise. Mold us and make us into that creation that reflects Your image for all to see. Help us to see beyond the trial to the triumph. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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