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    Świętosława's Corner 14

    The Refining Fire

    Recently, it has become apparent that many in the Body are undergoing severe trials. Many things ranging from health problems, financial problems, family problems and crises of faith are plaguing the most devout and Godly people I know. I have had more than one time been asked why Elohim (God) would allow His own children, who have strived to walk His chosen path, to suffer such severe and oftentimes catastrophic trials, seemingly with little intervention on His part for the afflictions of His faithful. It is indeed difficult to understand how such things come to pass. We are told in Scripture that Yahweh will prosper His people and such events, on the surface, would seem to be in conflict with this idea.

    I have been pondering this as I have watched people I am very close to struggle with failing health, failing relationships, stalled ministries and financial difficulties of immense proportions. It would seem on the surface that Elohim (God) has distanced Himself from His children but is this really so? Could there be a purpose for the increasing suffering that is occurring at this time? After long reflection I am left with this conclusion.

    Most people I know who are well studied in the Scriptures believe that the time for this world is growing very short. In the near future, I believe that Yahweh’s people will come under persecution the likes of which the messianic community (church) has not seen before. Even now, it is obvious that the remnant is being drawn out of the world to begin preparation for the coming tribulation. And Yahweh’s people will be tested to the extreme during this time. It will require fortitude developed through successful overcoming to withstand the events that will occur. I am left with the thought that perhaps that is what is happening at this time. Elohim (God) is refining His people, much like precious metal is refined. There is Scriptural support for this idea.

      Isaiah 1:25 And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin (alloy, impurities).

      Zechariah 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, Yahweh is my Elohim (God).

      Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

      Malachi 3:2-3 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver that they may offer unto Yahweh an offering in righteousness.

    This figurative reference to the refining of precious metal is self-explanatory. The refiner’s fire burns off the dross, and if the metal is right, the dross is burned off leaving pure, shining silver. In much the same way, severe trials overcome by burning off trivialities and counterproductive habits. They also define one’s faith and require conscious acceptance of circumstances as somehow part of the divine plan, regardless of what surface evidence may indicate. It is cliché, but true nevertheless, that unless you have been in the valley, you cannot see the beauty of the mountaintop. And human nature is such that we do not grow to our full potential without painful experience to strengthen our resolve and our faith. I believe this is what is happening now. I believe that we are being prepared so that we will be able to stand fast through the trials that are to come, and we are being taught to rely absolutely on Yahweh through any and all circumstances. For it is this absolute trust and dependence on Him that will overcome. It is our absolute assurance that He will stand in the stead for us in the events to come.

      Psalm 32:6-7 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. Thou are my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.

      Psalms 34:17-22 The righteous cry, and Yahweh heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. Yahweh is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous but Yahweh delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. Yahweh redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

      Psalms 37:18-19 Yahweh knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

      Psalm 42:5 Why are thou cast down O my soul? and why are thou disquieted in me? hope thou in Elohim (God): for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

    See, we are assured that Elohim (God) knows what we are going through and will sustain us. While the refining process is necessary to prepare us for His work, we are reassured that while He will allow the trials that refine us, He will not allow them to overwhelm or destroy us. We can take courage and strength from knowing that at the end, we will be stronger in faith and truly blessed to know in our hearts that His word is true, His presence assured, and His faithfulness to His children undying.

    In the end we know what we will be given eternal life in His presence. And it is true that to whom much is given, much is required. The refining process, painful though it may be, is the requirement we have to endure for the strengthening we need to reach the goal.

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    Author: SBK

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    First created on 6 October 2001
    Updated on 9 August 2016

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