“I’m thankful God that has sustained me, but sometimes I don’t want to just be sustained, I want to be delivered,” I confessed to my husband.
It’s difficult to admit such thoughts because as a Christian, I know that God is working in my trials and I do believe he has a purpose. But there are days when I struggle to see beyond the pain and, in my humanity, my present feelings cloud my eternal perspective.
Some days – I want to be rescued, rather than sustained. I want relief now.
He Meets Us There
But it never fails, when my heart grows weary and I feel like giving up the fight, the Spirit draws near, carries me through those moments, and as I cry out to him, gradually infuses me with a fresh sense of hope and perseverance to trust the One who rules over the length and heat of the fire.
He did that for me today as I re-read Proverbs 17:3 – “Gold is put in the fire because it is gold.” It sounds so – obvious. But it holds far more meaning than it may seem at face value.
You and I are not in the fire to be burned, but to be refined. And he only refines his treasures – that which carries great value and worth in his eyes. Yes, to be rescued would be temporary relief, but to be refined is a lasting blessing that cannot be lost or taken when the next fire comes.
Friend, have you prayed for a miracle and wonder why God has allowed your trial to continue? Have you seen other’s situations improve while yours only seem to worsen?
Remember this – God only refines that which he loves. And to add insult to injury, the enemy often unleashes on those whom God sees worth refining because they are a greater threat to him than those who are drunk with comfort.
If God rescues you (which he sometimes does), it shows the world his power to change circumstances at his word. But if he doesn’t, and we choose to serve and trust him anyway, it shows the world his power to change a heart – a heart that loves him above all else.
Many people (even non-believers) can make sense of our joy over an answered prayer and improved circumstances. And it’s often easy to attribute earthly reasons for why or how our changed circumstances came about.
But to the one who continues to endure hardship with a heart that is “sorrowful yet always rejoicing,” there is no earthly explanation for it. It causes us to stop and wonder when someone GROWS in character, peace, perseverance, contentment, hope, strength, and joy in circumstances that should naturally destroy those very things.
He Stands With You
Friend, like me, I pray you will be encouraged to press on today – not because you’re strong or resilient enough to endure the flames, but because if you have been chosen in the furnace of affliction, Rather than standing over us with the fire of condemnation (which we all deserve), Jesus stands with you and HE is strong enough to not only endure the flames, but to bring you forth as gold through them. And they will not last a moment longer than he deems necessary.
As Charles Spurgeon beautifully wrote,
“You often think that Jesus does not care because he has not interposed with a great miracle. Gradually you are getting poorer or becoming more afflicted in body. My dear friend, sometimes God works a greater wonder when he sustains people in trouble than by delivering them. To let the bush burn with fire and not be consumed (Ex. 3:2) is a greater thing than quenching the flame and saving the bush.”
May our lives bear such testimony.
Home is around the corner,
If this has encouraged you, you can pre-order Sarah’s new book – Tears and Tossings: Hope in the Waves of Life, releasing May 1st.
To read more on the hope we have in suffering, you can purchase “Hope When It Hurts – 30 Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering” authored by Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell here or here. Jeff and Sarah Walton’s marriage book, Together Through the Storms – Biblical Encouragements for Your Marriage When Life Hurts.