This is the fourth installment of a blog series about why God allows Christians to face difficulties and trials. Last Thursday we explored Scriptures that confirm, “Yes, Christians will have trouble!” Monday we saw that God works in our trials to bring glory to Christ. Wednesday, we learned that God uses our trials to fulfill His greater plan. Today and next week we will continue to discover from the Bible four specific ways God uses our trials.
Have you ever seen unrefined silver? It does not closely resemble the lovely silver jewelry I enjoy wearing. Silver ore contains rock and other minerals that mingle with the silver and hide its beauty. In order for the silver to be of any use it must be refined. The refinement process employs crushing, heating, and washing to remove the rock and other impurities.
It’s no accident that the Bible uses the refinement of silver and gold to help us understand the process of our spiritual growth and refinement. God refines His children like silver, and His refining process is not easy. He begins with what looks like an ordinary chunk of hard rock. He crushes and washes. Heats, melts, and separates the impurities. Heats and melts and separates again. He heats and molds and shapes until He has a vessel He can use.
Over and over, the Bible tells us that God uses the trials and difficulties of life to refine our faith and mold us into the likeness of Christ. The apostle Peter had experienced this in his own life:
So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:6-7, NLT
God uses the pain, grief, and difficulty He allows into our life to purify and strengthen our faith. We often feel like we are going through a blast furnace because we are! But in the midst of the refining we can rejoice in the truth that none of it is wasted. God is using every tear and heartache to shape us into the woman He wants us to be.
This refining process is painful but necessary. It penetrates below the surface features of our lives. God must work deeply to reach past our outward behavior to our attitudes and motives. So even in pain we can rejoice that God is doing His work in us.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may beperfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4, ESV
How have you seen God work in your trials to refine your faith?