While everyone has their own set of problems, we all go through difficult times. It may be a financial crisis, health issues, relationship woes, loss of a loved one, or some other life-altering situation. These difficult times are dark days in our lives when we may feel frightened, angry, isolated, abandoned, depressed, and confused. It is during these times that we sometimes question God. We may wonder if He is really there, and if He is, why is He allowing me to go through this? We may ask ourselves, “Is God mad at me? Have I done something to cause God to punish me? “
I would like to suggest in this article three positive reasons that God is allowing you to go through your difficult times. I am basing these reasons on a reading I recently did from Psalm 66:
“For You, O God, have tested us;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
You brought us into the net;
You laid affliction on our backs.
You have caused men to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.” (Psalm 66:10-12)
The above verses describe God bringing the Israelites through severe hardship…”brought us into the net, laid affliction on our backs, caused men to ride over our heads, we went through fire and through water.” The verses also compare these trials to silver being refined. I looked up silver refining, and simply put, it is a process of using fire to melt silver in order to purify it from impurities. As I was meditating on this, I asked myself, “Why do people refine silver?” These are the answers that came to mind:
* To reveal its beauty
* To make it useful
* To increase its value and worth.
After meditating on this, it occurred to me that God uses our struggles and difficult situations to do these very same things to us.
God loves us, and it is not His desire to harm us, but rather to do good for us. (Jeremiah 29:11)
1. To reveal your beauty.
“I will turn My hand against you,
And thoroughly purge away your dross,
And take away all your alloy.
I will restore your judges as at the first,
And your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” (Isaiah 1:25-26)
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2)
God wants to purify you of the things that mar your beauty–things like negative attitudes, hatred, jealousy, doubt, and sinful behavior that sullies your beautiful person which He created and intends for you to be.
God created us in His image. (Genesis 1:27) He knows what lies beneath the dust and dirt. Silver is considered well-polished when a person’s image can be reflected in it. God allows our trials to purge, purify, and polish us so that He can see His image in us.
2. To qualify you and make you useful for good works.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1:6-7)
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
When we go through trials and difficult times, we instinctively search for help, a solution, or a way out. In doing this, we gain knowledge, wisdom, resources,and contacts. Our trials often make us look to God, to draw closer to Him. We may find ourselves praying more, reading the Bible more, or going to church services more.
Whether we realize it or not, trials often equip us with what we will need later on down the road to help others, to face and overcome new problems, and to fulfill plans God has for us.
For example, Jesus endured 40 days and nights in the desert with the devil and no food. He went through all of this so that it would equip, qualify, and prepare Him for His ministry that followed soon afterward. (Matthew 4)
God chose David to be Israel’s king, yet before God ever put Him on the throne, He allowed David to go through trials where he was persecuted by King Saul. David had to live on the run in the desert, sleeping in caves. All this David had to endure because it provided him with the faith, leadership skills, and other abilities to be a great king.
When we are experiencing difficult times in our lives, instead of questioning God, it might be a good idea to step back and ourselves, and ask, “What is God trying to teach me from all this? What can I learn from this to make myself and my life better?”
3. To increase your value and worth.
” But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” (II Timothy 2:20-21)
As discussed in points 1 and 2, our trials cleanse us of dishonorable and unworthy things, and they equip us with abilities and traits so we can be useful to do good works for God. This makes us of great value and worth to God and His kingdom. The world is filled with wolves in sheep’s clothing. God desires to have sincere Christians in His household who can truly help others and make a difference for good in the world.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:4-5, 9)
The good news about all this is that trials never last. Some may last longer than others, but eventually, they come to an end just as the refining process comes to an end. And when it does end, you, like the silver, come out better for it than you were before. As Psalm 66:12 says, “But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.”
Something important I want to note about silver refining in the Bible. Malachi 3:3 says this:
“He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;
He will purify the sons of Levi,
And purge them as gold and silver,
That they may offer to the Lord
An offering in righteousness.”
Notice that God “sits at the furnace.” In other words, when you go through your refining process, or your trials, you are never alone. God is sitting right there with you, watching over you to make sure that the process does not destroy you but only betters you.