God the Refiner
Most people see God as a healer, as a teacher, as a Father. Some even see him as a tyrant. God is many things, and one of his aspects is as a refiner.
God does many things for humanity, but one of the most important things is he refines us. He changes our nature, and our lives into something better. He makes us stronger, wiser, and righteous.
And as I thought about the things in my life that aren’t going as I planned, I looked back at all the Bible heros and characters that went through the same process.
Abraham was called to live far away in a foreign land, make his life in the desert, and was tested by God to sacrifice his son. Jacob left his father’s house and traveled to his family to work for many years while his uncle schemed against him. Joseph was sold to slavery by his brothers and falsly accused. He lived in prison, patiently waiting for God’s grace. Moses lived as like a king in Egypt, but left to live forty years as a sheperd. David was hunted by Saul and lived in exile for many years. Ruth lost her husband and worked in a field to support Naomi. Paul suffered many hardships in his preaching to the gentiles. Even Yeshua ( Jesus ) suffered, fasting for forty days in the wilderness. Going to the cross to be beaten and crucified in front of his loved ones. No one, not even God’s firstborn can escape suffering. But even in all of this, all these Bible characters were refined.
Abraham became the Father of promise. Jacob amassed much wealth. Joseph become the ruler of Egypt second only to Pharaoh. Moses became the leader of the Israelites and spoke with God. David became the King of Israel. Ruth became the wife of Boaz, a wealthy farmer. She also was the great grandmother of David. Paul become one of the leading figures of the Church and his teachings have lasted for hundreds of years. And Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for humanity, the promised Messiah who will rule the earth in the Millenial Kingdom. Through all this suffering, God refined them into something greater.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.James 1:2-4 NASB
Though suffering may seem hard in the moment, the fruit of it is glory. God does not needlessly put man through suffering, but he teaches man with suffering. Remember this when you are in your wilderness, just as the Israelites were in their’s before the Promised Land. Praise God for His teaching. Praise God for His refining.
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Thank you Jonathan for a very encouraging blog post. Personally I am very thankful to our Father for His refining work in my life, through serious illnesses in particular. God bless you brother.