Refining lives through trials is something we hear a lot about as believers. We nod our heads and recognize the self-evident truth of the matter. But when our turn comes we tend to be a little more skeptical about the necessity of the procedure.
Is there really no other way to burn the chaff from our lives? Well, no there isn’t, or else God would let us know, because he withholds no good thing from us. Hard to believe since we deal with corrupt humans regularly. Carnal men and women withhold every good thing they can in order to stay ahead.
The trials themselves can also cause us to doubt God’s goodness, since they obviously hurt while we endure them. But God gives us peeks—even through the trials—of the good that is coming of them. We see that we become humbler, more patient, resilient, and reliant on God. And when specific trials come to an end, we can often see even more of the positive effects of it.
The parts we don’t see, we need to accept by faith that God has a plan. The pain is doing a work we cannot see.
Sometimes the question comes up concerning whether or not a trial is an attack from the enemy. Most of the time it probably is. Keep in mind though, that the enemy can also serve the purposes of God, even if he is trying to fulfill his own agenda. The biggest factor I try to remember, is whether I gave the enemy access through my own carelessness, or if God sovereignly allowed it for my refinement.
If God sovereignly allowed it as He did with Job, then the best we can do is to humble ourselves before Him and place ourselves into His mercies. If we do that, then the trial will take its course and the work will be completed in us for that season. Through it all we grow in character and draw nearer to God. This doesn’t mean we can’t stand on God’s promises. Or that we shouldn’t resist the enemy. But we should realize that it might not go away overnight.
On the other hand, if the Holy Spirit alerts us to some access we gave to the enemy, then we have some work to do—on our faces before God. He fights our battles, but we need to repent when we give the enemy access. This opens a path for God to vindicate us and give us the victory.
I know these thoughts are not new, or ground breaking. I only wish to impart a simple reminder. Some encouragement to those who might be going through the fiery trials right now.
1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.