Isaiah 48:10 See, I have refined you, but not like silver; I have tested you in the furnace of adversity.
I’m told that precious metals like silver are refined in fire. At very high temperatures the unwanted impurities in the metal are burned away and only the good stuff remains. God uses this imagery of a refining fire to describe the adversities he has brought upon the people Israel. There is purpose in their struggles. God doesn’t want to destroy them outright, but wants to eliminate some impurities that are holding the people back – things like idolatry, unfaithfulness, and neglect of the poor.
The fire of adversity can be excruciatingly painful, but also hugely beneficial.
I’ve definitely endured seasons in the refining fire over the years. It sucks. Yet I realize now that it’s in times of waiting that I’ve learned about patience. It’s in times of lack that I’ve learned about contentment. It’s in times of personal failure that I’ve seen God’s strength manifest in my weakness.
Right now the Lord is teaching me about trust. I’ve mentioned many times that I’m learning to be a father to young adult children. I’m learning to trust their capacity to handle life. I’m learning to trust in God’s faithfulness to care for them in my absence. I can tell I’m growing as a father, but it’s slow. And sometimes painful.
Most of you readers are enduring struggles of one kind or another. That’s life. And it’s no fun. But there are important gifts and capacities for life that are only available to us through the refining fires of adversity. What impurities might the Lord be trying to refine out of your life? What capacities are growing in you as you press into trials and tribulations?
Lord, teach us to submit to the pain of adversity that we might receive the gifts therein. Amen.