Have you ever wondered why God allows us to go through so many hardships and life-altering situations? After all, we are His child. As our loving Father, shouldn’t He protect us from adversities and traumatic experiences? Many think so. Perhaps a better question is: If God permits this trial in my life, how will He use it for my good?
In several passages, the Bible speaks of God refining us like silver or gold. Precious metals go through a refining process to remove impurities and achieve a more valuable metal. As the metal is heated to an intense degree (about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit), the scum or dross rises to the top of the liquid metal and is removed by the refiner. Left behind in the crucible is pure metal.
Similarly, God uses the “furnace of affliction” to remove impurities from our life—our sins, doubts, rebellion, worldly ambitions, and desires. God says He will “thoroughly purge away your dross, and take away all your alloy” (Isaiah 1:25, NKJV). Otherwise, those things will hold us back from fully achieving God’s purpose in our life.
When we face difficult trials, and we all will, we must cooperate with what God desires to do in our lives. How do we do this?
1. Submit to the refining process.
James 1:2 (ESV) tells us to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” This seems illogical to our human mind, but joy comes from what is produced in our lives through the trial. “For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (verses 3-4). God uses our adversities to develop characteristics we might otherwise not acquire. Submission to the process leads to growth and maturity.The Lord reminds us in II Corinthians 12:9 that His grace is sufficient. Click To Tweet
2. Trust God during the process.
The Lord reminds us in II Corinthians 12:9 that His grace is sufficient. As the Refiner, He knows how to control the temperature of the fire to allow the dross to fall away. Remember, the refining fire does not completely consume the precious metal; it only removes the impurities that will lessen its value. In the same way, our trials will not consume us but will make us more valuable in our service to the Lord. Our suffering will strengthen us and change our focus from the temporal to the eternal.
3. Expect the process to change us.
What is the result of the refining process? We reflect the image of our Refiner. We become more Christlike. Our character reflects His character. Job, who could teach us all a lesson on facing adversity, declared, “When he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10, NKJV). First Peter 1:7 says the heat of the trial reveals the genuineness of our faith.
The Refiner carefully watches the heat of the furnace. Only when He looks into the crucible and sees His reflection does He know the process is complete. The dross is gone, and He will remove us from the fire.
(A version of this article appeared in Reflections.)