These days it seems we are all going through something; whether loss, grief, financial hardship, physical hardship, illness, difficult decisions, personal attacks, or any number of other things. I honestly don’t think I know a single soul that isn’t experiencing some kind of trial to one degree or another. And in many cases it isn’t just one thing, but multiple. It seems the age old adage is ringing true these days; when it rains, it pours.
So by way of reminder in God’s overall goodness and purpose, I decided to revisit my earlier post, Refiner’s Fire: Purpose in Trials. I pray God uses it to bless and remind you that He is an ever present help in time of need, and that He never allows anything to touch us without purpose and tender oversight.
It’s no secret God allows trials and storms in our lives. We all experience them and no one is exempt. Especially these days when it seems things are coming apart at the seams. But did you know that God allows these trials to bring about a desired result? They are never the product of chance or fate, and they are not designed to destroy or harm us.
“He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.” Malachi 3:3
When we’re going through trials it can be difficult to understand or see a purpose for what is happening to us. During these times, it’s important to maintain our faith in the fact that God is in control of all that He allows in our lives. And that, in His wisdom, He allows these things for our ultimate blessing (Job 23:8-10). Though it can be tempting to become angry or disappointed and turn away from God, our most beneficial response is to submit ourselves to His care and wait on Him for our deliverance, which will come about in its perfect time (Psalm 46:10; 1 Peter 5:6, 10).
“All the exercises of the spiritual life, our reading and praying, our willing and doing, have their very great value. But they can go no farther than this that they point the way and prepare us in humility to look to and to depend alone upon God Himself, and in patience to wait for His good time and mercy. The waiting is to teach us our absolute dependence upon God’s mighty working, and to make us in perfect patience place ourselves at His disposal.”
–Andrew Murray, Waiting on God
“‘And He shall sit as a refiner’, (Malachi 3:3). This is a beautiful and comforting picture. The refiner never leaves his precious metal, but he sits by the fire and watches closely. He watches for that moment when the heat is sufficient to burn the dross and to leave the metal perfect. He knows just the right amount of heat to apply and he applies it just the right length of time.”
–J. C. Brumfield, Hope for Troubled Christians
God is good, all the time
The most essential element to submitting ourselves to God’s care is understanding His goodness. If we ever hope to trust Him with our lives, we must believe that He is good, and that in all things His purpose is to bring about good. The scriptures teach us that God longs to be gracious to us (Isaiah 30:18), and that He withholds no good thing to those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). Many times our understanding of what we think is good for us gets in the way. What God sees as good and beneficial and necessary will oftentimes not be what we want or believe is best for us, so we don’t discern God’s presence in our trials and our faith begins to waiver.
Sometimes we cause our own trials by something we have said or done. But God in His mercy, whether He has allowed the trial or we have caused it ourselves, will bring good out of it if we submit to Him in the trial. That’s why Job could say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15). On the other hand, when we walk in fear and without faith we are in essence questioning God’s great love and good intentions for us, and we hinder His purposes in our lives. In doing so, we can even prolong our own suffering. But be assured, God’s desire is never to harm us – to do so would go completely against His nature. Admittedly, the things He allows us to go through at times may be painful, but they are always and only allowed for the purpose of bringing about something good in us that may otherwise never come about.
It boils down to this..
In the end, we must make the choice to believe that God is good – not because we see it, or even feel His presence at the time–but because He says so. Simply because He says He is good. And we can find many examples in the Bible and in our own lives to reinforce this assertion, though we may not see His goodness presently; but that’s because we often don’t see the whole picture. We tend to limit God by what we see, feel, and experience in the moment, rather than by what God’s Word says to be true. But what does the Bible tell us?
“But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3a
“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:30-31
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Each of us must decide whether we will believe and trust God, or lean on our feelings and circumstances. Faith chooses to believe God. And God will not disappoint.