I filled the tub with water and bubbles, and prepared to settle in for a nice hot bath. I had already turned on the sermon I wanted to listen to during bath time. I was ready. I was about to get my relaxation on.
For me, a nice bubble bath is a great way to kick back and enjoy a calm getaway without having to leave home. And best of all, it’s free. I know some people like showers and so do I. But a bath, for me, is far more calming and relaxing.
Well, when I put my right foot in the water, I felt this overwhelming stinging sensation. It was a burning feeling concentrated on the areas of my foot and leg that were submerged in the water.
I knew what that meant. It was boiling hot!
And nothing ruins a bath like filling the tub with water that’s too hot, too cold, or lukewarm; the wrong temperature just messes up bath time, right?
So I quickly turned on the cold water, because I was not about to try to relax in that scalding hot liquid. Then, after cooling the water down a bit, I was finally able to enjoy it. I remember frowning and thinking, I don’t know how I underestimated how hot this water was. I mean, I tested it before getting in it—or so I thought. It felt alright to me; that is, before I tried to step into it.
Oh well. My testing process was an epic failure.
Thank God His testing process isn’t like ours. He never underestimates or overestimates the amount of heat we can take during the intense trials and tests He allows to purify our character. That doesn’t mean divinely-ordained struggles are comfortable. On the contrary, they are tough to deal with and may even seem too much to handle. But you’ll survive. These hard seasons, which are all a part of God’s plan, leave us better equipped to fulfill His will.
Friend, if you’re in the middle of a valley right now, in the midst of the pain, heartache and tears, thank God you’re being tested. It’s working for you. His hand is on your life. He’s with you. His will is being accomplished through this period of tribulation. He has you right where He wants you to get the most glory out of your life. You’re in a preparation phase.
Know that what’s coming next is greater and better than this! Just hang on in there.
1 Peter 4:12 NLT says, “Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.”
Testing isn’t odd or unusual for the believer. It is both necessary and good. The fiery trials ordained by God will not consume you. God never makes the error I did when drawing my bath. As I said before, He never applies more heat than we can stand.
He doesn’t have an “oops moment” where He says, “Oops, I applied too much heat in that fiery furnace of affliction,” or “Oops, I let her go through the storm for too long,” or “Oops, I trusted him with trouble and there’s no way he can deal with all that.”
The Lord knows exactly what He’s doing and He is fully aware that suffering is necessary for our growth and conformity to His will. 1 Peter 4:13 explains that those fiery trials we endure make us partners in Christ’s suffering, so that we may also share in His glory.
Reaping season's on the way. After you have endured this trial, a greater glory will rest on your life!
Many people chase the glory and want to skip the suffering, but in the Kingdom of God suffering is the way to glorification. It is the suffering and intense heat that purifies us.
Malachi 3:2 describes the Lord as a “refiner’s fire.” A refiner is one that heats metal until it liquefies; that’s when it changes to its molten state. This enables the refiner to separate the dross, or the impurities, from the metal. This purification of the gold and silver can only be completed by heating it up to extremely high temperatures, and getting rid of any waste that would bring down the value of the metal.
The heat of your tests get rid of anything that taints or sullies your character, dims the light of Christ, weakens you, and pulls you away from the purpose for which you were intended, which is to bring God glory.
In context, Malachi 3:1-5 is talking about the ultimate refinement connected to the coming of Christ and the judgment of the Lord. Yet, we know we are refined through fiery trials in this present age. You may be reading this and nodding, saying, I’m going through a refinement process right now!
Psalm 66:10 NIV says, “For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.”
Until you have been tested and tried in the fire, you cannot be an example of God’s glory. Jesus, our ultimate example, yielded and submitted Himself to the hardest process of all. Philippians 2:8 says He became “obedient to the death of the cross,” thereby making Him eligible for exaltation.
Jesus’ humiliation came before His exaltation. How much more then must we be humbled? But once Christ fulfilled His assignment, Philippians 2:9 says, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.”
Let me reiterate; when you sign up to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, you are volunteering to partake in His suffering, but also, to be glorified with Him.
You will have to walk through some low, dark, rocky, intimidating places. But God will only leave you there long enough to develop your character and get you ready for what’s next. If you can just see and believe that greater is coming after this test, and that it’s working for you, you’ll make it.
But you have to know this isn’t your final destination and that your go-through isn’t for naught. You’re headed toward a bigger purpose, a Heavenly calling and an exceeding great reward. Next time you want to give up, tell yourself, I’m being prepared for something greater. When you feel yourself wanting to wave the white flag of surrender, remind yourself that this test is the avenue God has chosen to get you to your next dimension.
You’re going higher. You will do everything God has placed you on this earth to do. This test will not break you; it will build you up. When you come out as pure gold, you will shine brightly for the Kingdom. You will be strong enough to handle the magnitude of the awesome assignment that follows this difficult season.
Again, hang on in there. Greater is coming after this test.
To help you hold on to this truth, I’m stirring 2 Corinthians 4:18 NKJV into your cup of inspiration, which says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, I want you to extract four words from the verse quoted above to remind you that affliction and refinement, no matter how painful it is, is working for us. Those four words in that passage give you a guarantee that something good is coming out of it.
Remember what Galatians 6:9 KJV says: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Reaping season is on the way. God is bringing things together. Through the tears, it’s working for you. When the devil says you can’t handle it anymore, say, Yes I can, because it’s working for me.
How can you be sure? Because Romans 8:28 NKJV tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Prepare for greater things!
Now let’s pray.
God, this test is difficult. I feel the pressure and pain, and times are rough. But I don’t rely on my feelings to dictate whether or not I’m in Your will. I rely on Your word and it tells me that tests, tribulations and fiery trials refine my faith and character, so that I may come forth as pure gold. Despite how hard it is and how bad it looks, I know that You have greater things in store for me after this. So I rejoice in affliction and thank You in advance for what is to come. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
If you need prayer, don't hesitate to request it. I would be honored to stand in faith with You. I know that prayer works. CLICK HERE to learn how to submit your prayer request.