This morning I was talking, writing actually, to the Lord about the difficulties Linda and I face and what He is doing. The summary, “I don’t really know, but I trust.” I look back at what He has already done for both of us, in part by working through our hardships. How can I not trust that He is still working now?
I’ve been reading a book, Standing in the Fire: Courageous Christians Living in Frightening Times by Tom Doyle. The title says it all. These precious and amazing brothers and sisters know what real suffering for Jesus looks like. I am not at all sure what we face can in any way be compared to that. If so, it is only that God can and does use any form of suffering to strengthen our faith. The origin of the suffering is no less evil for it, bug good will overcome.
As I was thinking about these things, God showed me a hammer. Consider the tools of construction. They are not tools of subtlety and softness. They are loud, forceful, and destructive. Wood and stone must be cut. Nails must be hammered. Metal must be forged. Ground must be broken up and removed. The bigger the project, the bigger and meaner the tools you need to finish it. But when it’s finished, you have a building ready to serve its intended purpose for many years to come.
In the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul refers to the church as God’s building, and the individual as the temple of the Holy spirit, but the more common analogy found in the biblical text is to the fire of the forge, separating out impurities until we have pure gold.
There are questions left unanswered for us. The suffering most often referenced by scripture is persecution, not sickness. Is there not a time to fight? Should we assume that because God is in control that we should just accept anything that comes our way? I don’t think that’s the right answer, but I do know this: even if I fail, He is able to turn that around to His good purpose. I strive to understand. I try to do the right thing. I want to know and live the truth and show others how to do the same. A heart and life that is submitted to His will is the key. There is great peace in knowing that my failure cannot disrupt His plan. He accounted for that too. If I have misunderstood, He will show me in His time. My only prayer concerning this is that in the process of my learning He will not allow me to mislead anyone else.
There are many things of which I am not completely certain, but this I know. We must choose to trust Him regardless of our circumstance. When we see how He brings about good even when things are bad, our faith is strengthened. So if it must be, bring on the hammer.