I climbed Croagh Patrick in March 2007 during a sleet storm. St. Patrick is one of my heroes. A foreigner who went to a pagan country and saw the entire nation come to Christ during his lifetime. If you don’t know his story, read it.
Here is one of my favorite passages in Proverbs 17:
“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.” -Proverbs 17:3
Sooner or later, a person ends up in the fire. It may be an illness, disappointment, family trouble, or a financial or career setback… The list goes on.
Sometimes we call the fire a “storm.” It’s that time where you’re in the midst of the wind, lightning, and blowing rain– just hanging on for dear life.
A fire or a storm doesn’t just develop character. Rather, it reveals it. Godly people become “Godlier.” Generous people become even more generous. Sadly, bitter people often become more bitter, and selfish folks will simply sink deeper into the mud of “what’s in it for me.”
But the fire– this crucible for precious silver or furnace to purify gold– can be a time of unmatched blessing and growth. This modern parable expresses that connection: “The best metal requires the hottest fire.”
When we are “forged by the fire” God is using our current situation/difficulty to grow us. It’s a purification process. Where the impurities that we don’t need (worry, materialism, unforgiveness) are “burned off.”
And the result is a person more pure in heart.
And that is always a happier and more joyous person.
As Proverbs 17:3 states metal is tested by the fire, but our “mettle” (how we are in our heart) is tested by the Lord.
Finally, if you’re in the fire, take heart. God meets us in that hot furnace. As Shadrach and his two buddies discovered, God doesn’t always deliver us from the furnace, but He always shows up to meet us there. “Look, I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like the “son of God.” (Daniel 3)
Lord, I don’t ask for deliverance from the fire I’m in. I simply ask you to reveal the presence of your son Jesus right by me. Amen.