“These [trials] have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine…”
- 1 Peter 1:7 NIV
The Bible tells us that our God “tries” our “hearts and emotions and thinking powers.” As David points out, this is because He is a “righteous God.” (Psalm 7:9 AMP) One of the ways the Lord tests us in this manner is to allow someone else to receive the blessings that we have been believing Him for. This is particularly hard on our emotions when the person who is blessed more than we are is someone who we think is less deserving. Scripture says: “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT) God already knows what is in our hearts. But He wants US to know what is in our hearts, so we can confess our sinful attitudes, ask for forgiveness, and receive His divine cleansing. (1 John 1:9) This is all part of God’s supernatural refining process to make His people more like Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The dictionary says that to “refine” something means “to bring to a fine or a pure state; to free from impurities.” The last time I was going through a particularly difficult trial, I asked the Lord, “What’s going on here? Why is this happening?” He kept pointing me to Zechariah 13:9 (NIV) which says: “This third I will bring into the fire; 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.’” In other words, there is a remnant of God’s people, chosen by Him to be used for His glory in extraordinary ways, who will be tested and purified in order to reach their full potential in Christ. These “elect” of God will have a unique relationship with Him, one that is deeply personal and intimate. And they will get ready answers to their prayers whenever they call upon Him. Even so, the Lord may allow them to experience times of loss and lack, so that their trust and dependence upon Him may be strengthened, and so they may learn firsthand that all they really need is Him. As He says in His Word: “I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.” (Isaiah 48:10 NLT)
The apostle Peter reveals one of the reasons why God’s people face times of adversity. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV) Peter clearly says that trials will come our way so that our faith “may be proved genuine.” I heard someone say that “a faith that isn’t tested, can’t be trusted. ” When hard times come, and we don’t stumble or become offended in our belief, we show the world that our faith isn’t fickle or feeble, but firm and for real. If you know the Bible account of Job, then you are aware of the intense suffering that he endured. In the midst of his darkest hour, Job declared: “But He knows the way that I take [He has concern for it, appreciates, and pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold [pure and luminous].” (Job 23:10 AMP) Job’s belief in the goodness and righteousness of His God enabled him to stand firm in his faith, and receive a double blessing from the Lord in the end. (Job 42:10) We, too, are promised great rewards and benefits from our trials, when we are committed to our Savior who has called us for a high purpose. (Romans 8:28)
The psalmist wrote: “You have tested us, O God; You have purified us like silver. We went through fire and flood, but You brought us to a place of great abundance.” (Psalm 66:10,12 NLT) If you are in a difficult place today, God wants you to know that He has plans to bring you to “a place of abundance.” Give Him your wholehearted trust, devotion, and cooperation—and watch Him bless you and use you in new and exciting ways for His glory!
Prayer: Lord, give me revelation from heaven that will help me to understand and cooperate with Your refining process. Make me quick to confess and repent for the sinful attitudes that are revealed in me in difficult times. Grant me Your forgiveness and cleansing, and make me Your instrument for noble purposes, useful for Your highest works. (2 Timothy 2:21) Thank You that each time I am tested, I will come forth as gold! (Job 23:10 NIV)
- J. M. Farro