Saturday, November 18, 2006

Refined by Fire

Our house overlooks sugar cane fields in the distance. When the sugar cane is ready to be harvested, it must first be burned right in the field where it stands. The burning is the first step to begin the process of making sugar. The burning allows the juice of the cane to come to the surface easier when later it is crushed at the mill. Last night I woke up in my bed and looked out the window to see this giant red cloud and wondered if I was seeing "Red clouds in the morning, sailors take warning"-type of storm coming. However, when I got up to look closer, a tiny field of sugar cane was burning brightly with smoke billowing high up into the sky. I was mesmerized by the red glow in the middle of the night and marvelled at how controlled the fire was. The fire was contained completely within the borders set for it, even though flames leaped high into the air.

In I Peter 1:3-9, Peter wrote: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 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. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goals of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

Just as the sugar cane needs the fire to begin its long processing to turn it into the product for which it was grown, God permits trials to come into our lives to refine our faith and bring us to the goal of our faith---the salvation of our souls.
Trials that come into our lives come through God's permissive will first and He desires that the trials will cause our faith in Jesus Christ to become real and genuine so that it may result in faith that is more precious than gold, which is made more precious by the refining of fire. Just as the sugar cane fields are greatly controlled by men who know what they are doing, God is in control of the trials that come our way and He is the Refiner of our faith that brings about inexpressible and glorious joy as the end result. If you are in the midst of a trial that you don't understand, have faith that it is God at work in you! He is refining you to make you that jewel in His kingdom that He wants you to be!

You are of greater worth than gold!


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