Day 59 – Tough Stuff
In a letter, Brother Lawrence wrote, “I will not ask God to deliver you from your trials, but I will ask him earnestly to give you the patience and strength needed to suffer as long as he desires. . . . Get used to suffering, and ask him for the strength to suffer as he wants, and for as long as he judges necessary.”
When my brother Dan and I were growing up, we had a toy that probably wouldn’t be sold today. It was a lead set in which we could heat up and pour molten lead into a metallic mold to make three lead soldiers at a time. It didn’t work real well, but we could usually get one good lead soldier for every pouring.
We would first collect lead pieces that fell off car tires – used to balance tires – or go to a gas station and see if we could get a bunch. Then we would plug in this small heating coil, position our long-handled ladle on that heating coil, dump in the lead chunks, and wait for the lead to melt.
This is where it got fun. The lead pieces would slowly start melting, and we would use a plyers to pull out metal pieces that wouldn’t melt.
And then when the lead got really hot – molten and really shiny – we had a system to use a short pipe for skimming off the slag, the impurities, which came to the surface.
Then we would pour the hot lead into the soldier mold all clamped together, and after it cooled down, voila, a toy soldier was formed! (Parents today wouldn’t want their kids playing with hot, molten lead!)
God uses the heat of trials and struggles and suffering in our lives to refine us – allowing all the slag and dross and impurities in our lives to float to the top and be skimmed off. What remains is pure, making us useful to God, and shiny, reflecting Christ.
Heating the lead only lasted a little while. The toy soldiers lasted a very long time.
When we’re under the “fiery ordeal” of our trials, every moment seems like an eternity (1 Peter 4:12). But compared with being with God forever, our trials are short.
Plus, once we realize that God has permitted this or that trial into our lives, we can place ourselves into God’s care and persevere. “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good” (1 Peter 4:19).
Perhaps the situation you’re facing may not be good, and it may not be just. But God will bring about his purpose and your good as you surrender to him.
Action Step: Pray, as God works out the situation you’re facing, that he will work into your life the character and lessons you need to learn.
This is God’s Word for you today,