“And I will put this third into the fire,While the process of going through fire can obviously cause pain (I don't really know how it wouldn't cause pain), His goal is not to give us this pain; His goal is to refine us. When I dicipline my children, I know it hurts them; yet my wish is to refine them, help them grow, and learn to understand right from wrong. The pain that goes along with that often hurts me I'm sure more than it hurts them.
and refine them as one refines silver,
and test them as gold is tested.
They will call upon my name,
and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘They are my people’;
and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”
(Zechariah 13:7-9 ESV)
This passage, especially the preceding verses is prophetic in a messianic sense, yet it still speaks of that process of refinement, the same type of refinement (testing) that we see in 1 Peter:
"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 ESV)For me, these passages are a call and a reminder about where my path is heading if I wish to follow Him. I have and will continue to have refining fires in my life as He sees fit. Though too often I think of the easy (yet very painful answers) when it comes to what fires and trials look like in my life; like loosing a family member, my health, my job, etc. Yes these can be trials, and He may use them to refine me, but I don't think it is those events He uses most often, but rather events of submission.
Walking away from my job to choose a path that He is calling me to can be a fire that when tested at a distance seems a little too hot to jump into. Giving a truly sacrificial gift to someone you are being called to give it to when you are struggling yourself can be quite the fire as well. Showing His character of love and peace to a family member, friend, or coworker who continues to persecute you can be a fire that pushes you to the edge.
Yet as a follower, we are told not to fear:
"for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)Let us not forget that His fires don't leave us with scars, but leave us transformed. They don't disfigure us, they make us more beautiful!
Father, may you grant me the courage to not fear Your fires. While difficult times will certainly come upon me, and painful events will hurt me, Your fires don't leave me burned, but leave me transformed. Father, whatever it takes, make me like Jesus.