Back in my sophomore year of high school, I went to an amusement park for a school field trip. My more adventurous friends wanted to ride everything. Me? I stood back and watched and was perfectly fine not participating. But after a while, they kept pushing me and egging me on.
“Come on and ride the rollercoaster,” they said. “Don’t be scared. We’re right there with you and won’t let anything happen to you.”
After protesting, I eventually caved and got on a ride called The Predator. Once I was strapped in and the ride started, instantly I regretted it. What have I done? I thought; every muscle in my body tensed. Once we got underway, however, I was surprised that, although a bit comfortable and jerky, the rollercoaster wasn’t quite as scary as I expected it to be. It was noisy and intimidating for sure, but that was about it. Before getting on, I had gotten rattled by the sound of the rattling, the height of the ride and the screams of other riders. But once I silenced my fears and rode The Predator, well, it didn’t feel so predatory after all.
When I got off, I felt like a champion. I had conquered my fear and survived that rollercoaster ride. I felt stronger and more confident. I didn’t get back on it, though. I didn’t enjoy having my body violently shaken that way, but I wasn’t afraid anymore. I realized I had worked myself up for nothing. My fears were overblown and my expectations were off. I was proud after I was able to push past the boundaries of fear with the assurance of my friends’ protection and companionship.
In life, if we banish fear with faith in the ever-present One who protects us, we will be okay. Though God never promised the ride would be smooth, through it all, He does say He will be with us, helping us and taking care of us. And that has to be enough.
Friend, don’t be surprised when trouble comes knocking. Expect that to happen. Just know that you are equipped to handle whatever comes your way because the Lord is on your side. He allows you to be tested. He lets you go through so you can see what’s in you and so He can improve upon and refine His masterpiece, and get greater glory.
In the Kingdom of God, suffering is the way to maturity and glorification. Malachi 3:2 describes the Lord as a “refiner’s fire.” A refiner heats metal until it liquefies and 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, Yes, Dianna, I’m going through a refinement process right now! You are experiencing Psalm 66:10 NIV, which says, “For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.”
It may feel awful, but 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. 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.”
You see, 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. You will take some bumpy rollercoaster rides. You’ll have ups and downs, rises and falls, but you’ll make it. The process will work for you. If you can just remember that your struggle leads to greater, you can declare through the worst of times, this is working for me.
The great news is, this isn’t your final destination. 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. Everyone will see the glory of God shining through you.
To strengthen your resolve and encourage you, 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 zone in on three words from the verse quoted above: working for us.
Affliction and refinement, no matter how painful it is, is working for you. This passage gives you a foolproof guarantee that something good is coming out of every struggle, even the ugliest battles.
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.”
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 You are causing all things to work together for my good. So I give you thanks in all things, for this is Your will for me, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:8. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you desire prayer, please allow me, along with my intercessory prayer team, to stand in faith with you for breakthrough. We would be so honored. We have seen God work over and over again. There is power in agreement. Click here to request prayer now.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!