– Henry Ward Beecher
God is said to be a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). In fact, the very first encounter that Moses had with God was with the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-2), so fire relates to God’s judgment but also a perpetual fire that never goes out, which no one can approach and live. Those who refine gold pass it through the fire to remove the impurities (dross) and make it more valuable. So it is with our faith. God allows us to pass through trials and troubles “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). This allows us to see how strong (or weak) or faith is in God. In other words, how much will we trust Him? Will we still praise Him in the storm?
Fine emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds are formed under tremendous amounts of heat and pressure. Just like a grain of sand enters an oyster and irritates it into producing a fine pearl, every Christian can look at trials and troubles as God using pressure, heat, and irritants to keep up humble as well as make us more valuable to His kingdom by what we do. When we’ve suffered, we can comfort others after receiving the same kind of comfort God gave us. Our sufferings can help others.
C.S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasure, but He shouts to us in our pain.” So God can use pain to humble us to come before Him in brokenness and in prayer. If we start to wander from God, He may use pain to draw us back to Him. God can do whatever He wills to do, which is good because He always brings about our very best in all things (Romans 8:28).
Look at troubles as God’s tools. He is building character in us and always knows the exact tool to use and the precise moment we need it. I need it, that’s for sure. I can use a lot of God’s help. We must be careful to not get between the rock and the hammer as He is working in the lives of others.