The Refining Process

July 5, 2019

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. 1 Peter 4:12-13 MSG

One of the commonalities of we humans is this: Ambiguity is extraordinarily hard to accept, so when we don’t know what is happening, we tend to write our own story. We fill in the blanks with what we think is the most reasonable explanation and that becomes our truth.

When life is hard, when problems make life more difficult than we feel like we can handle, when we don’t know why, it is most natural to draw the conclusion that we have disappointed God and He has left us. Or He never has cared that much to start with. Or He’s just not as capable as we once thought; perhaps we just don’t matter.

Whatever reason we ascribe to it, the bottom line is that we are alone. God is neither present nor powerful in our lives. Whatever He has done/is doing for others doesn’t matter. We are out of the path of miracles and loving care. It is a bleak place.

Peter’s experiences proved to him that the story of an absent God in our troubles is a destructive lie. Instead of being abandoned, we are in the very center of what Christ experienced. We are in the thick of shaping and refinement, with the unnecessary, unattractive, and un-Christ-like parts of us under the hand of God. The changes He is working in us are huge and magnificent. They will end in glory!

Long before Peter discovered God’s process, Job had his firsthand time in the fire of unimaginable problems. He said, “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside” (Job 23:10-11). God has not lost track of you. Your refining process is necessary. He knows what He is doing and where you are headed. He’s making you pure gold! Your part is to keep following His ways and not get off the path.

  • What’s your go-to explanation when you are facing problems you don’t deserve?
  • How can you change your default thoughts and remind yourself of the truth?
  • What does staying on the path during hard times look like for you?