The hymn is beautiful:
Gold in the Furnace Tried
Ne’er loses aught but dross,
So is the Christian purified,
And bettered by the cross.
My past few days have been about testing and trials.
Yesterday, I had an examination for a course I am doing for my career in nursing. I was being tested to my limit on what I have been taught about care. I did the best I possibly could, so I am very thankful to God!
Today, I had my driving test. I had to prove to an examiner that I was competent to drive a car before they issue me with a license. I failed the test.
The failure in a way was the third test; would I accept graciously that it was God’s will that I should not be successful at this time? Or would I kick up a fuss, and question the Lord’s authority in not granting me a driving license? I admit I was sorely tempted to get really upset and even angry at God. At one stage it seemed that surely I would pass the test, and in one moment my expectations are dashed to pieces. Well, I must thank God that I was given the grace to accept what His providence had laid up in store for me.
Well these are indeed very minor issues in the big scheme of God’s great plan. We will often come into trials, but as the Gold I mentioned in the hymn, these trials will not only pain us, but they will purify us.
Let me tell you a story,
There was once a young man, we shall call him George. George was a non-Christian, he had been brought up that way and had no idea that there was any alternative to his way of life. George had met Christians in the past, but he had looked on them the same way we would look on someone with mental difficulties. In effect he thought Christians were insane although he didn’t think quite like that, he just thought of himself as somewhat enlightened.
George works as a successful computer technician, you have a problem with your computer, you take it to George’s firm and they fix it. A very profitable trade.
Well, it so happens that there is a major recession in the country, and hard times come upon Georges firm, and they have to dissolve business. George then finds himself without a job.
George has to do lots and lots of job searching... he looks for anything related to his specified field of work... there seems to be nothing at all going in computing, or anything vaguely similar.
In a moment of desperation, George is forced to go to the local Job center and ask for just any job that comes around. Finally he gets a job at a computing firm... as a CLEANER...
The new job is such a disgrace to George, who is used to high paying computer job, now having to do meagre cleaning, it is so humiliating for him. However George decides that he will try and make do with this job for a while until something better comes along.
In time, George start to really enjoy his new cleaning job, this being mostly due to the fact that he met a beautiful young lady, who he likes very much. They start off on small talk, talking about the weather and so on, and soon, he starts making bigger conversation with her, they start laughing together, and people are starting to notice that these two young people are spending a lot of time together. Yes, you guessed it, they are in Love! Madness right? The young lady I shall call Jane.
Well here comes the good part, Jane is a Christian, and soon George is becoming more sympathetic towards Christianity. If we look forward in time we might see George as a young preacher talking about his conversion and about his lovely wife Jane.
Well, that’s a beautiful story isn’t it?
Do you think that perhaps God sent that recession along to help George get in contact with Jane, and thus get to know Jesus? Do you think George was pleased when the recession hit? Do you think that maybe in years to come George will look back in time over all the way the Lord has led him and realise that this recession was for his souls good? Will he thank God for the recession?
The recession is like the furnace God used to purify Georges heart, which when Jesus entered became like pure gold.
What trials and tribulations are you in right now? I assure you in years to come you will thank God for them!
Here are some examples from scripture:
Joseph: Joseph is hated by his brothers, sold to the Arab slave traders and brought as a slave to Egypt, a strange land where he would have felt so alone. But if that wasn’t bad enough, he was accused of doing something very bad, and he was thrown in prison and locked up for years. And I assure you in those days prison wouldn’t be such a nice place! So you see Joseph must have thought that everything was going against him. He would have felt desolate, as if the whole world was against him. He must have wandered whether it was even worth living. Have you had times like that? Well, time passed, and we know the story, he eventually becomes prime minister over all the land of Egypt. He would then be able to see all the way that God had led him, and see that all his trials worked for good!
David: First thing we hear of David is him being anointed as King over all Israel. Samuel comes to his lowly farm and tells him that he will no more be looking after sheep, but he will be a mighty king. This must have sounded ridiculous to David, but God gave him the grace to believe it and to wait for the Lord to perform His oath. And all seemed to be going great when King Saul invited David to come to his palace and play his harp for him there... this is great, he is now one of the royal court, everything is going just as God had planned. But soon Saul turns on David and wants to kill him. Now David feels so far from the crown that God had promised him. And nothing seems to be going right.
Are you starting to see a bit of a pattern here? Everything seems to be going wrong... but eventually things come to a climax when life seems hardly worth living, and all of a sudden God does something wondrous and you are blessed beyond belief!
If you are a real child of God, I’m sure you have experienced a bit of this tribulation, perhaps you are even at the point of giving up hope, and God begins to work a miracle for you.
When things are all going so well, thank God for that, but be warned that if God never brings trouble on you, it may be a good indication that you are not a real Christian as it says in Hebrews 12:8 “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” There have been times when I have been enabled to pray that God will bring some kind of trial upon me so that I may be made a better Christian in a closer walk with God.
Well the time has run out, but I will leave these words with you, and I hope that you will have a new perspective on whatever troubles you are going through right now. And I pray that God will give you the strength to endure these trials!