Faith in hard times
Has your life ever taken a sudden turn? Completely out of the blue, you find yourself on a path you never saw coming. It can be hard to feel rooted in God’s love when everything around you is changing. I hope you find strength and encouragement from my story…
Listen, those of you who are boasting, “Today or tomorrow we’ll go to another city and spend some time and go into business and make heaps of profit!” But you don’t have a clue what tomorrow may bring. For your fleeting life is but a warm breath of air that is visible in the cold only for a moment and then vanishes! Instead you should say. “Our tomorrows are in the Lord’s hands and if he is willing we will live life to its fullest and do this or that.” James 4:13-15 The Passion Translation
Since 2015 our family has been on an amazing journey. And it certainly was not one that I saw coming! As I reflect on the past four years, as I often do, the scripture above resounds in my mind. I am a planner, and like to map out my days, weeks, years… life if I am not careful. In his letter, James is urging believers to be humble and submit themselves to God. Specifically in the verses above he reminds them they “don’t have a clue what tomorrow may bring.” James urges us to remember that it is God who is in control of our tomorrows!
In the fall of 2015 this reality hit our family hard. My husband lost his job about four months after I had resigned from my teaching position to stay home with our almost two year old daughter. I remember the look on his face when he told me. And we both calmly mourned the “tomorrows” we had planned. That calm was out of complete shock, however, because the next eight months were filled with fear, doubt, worry, anxiety, pain, and regret…
Had I made a huge mistake in resigning from my teaching position? Was God truly answering my prayers to stay at home with our family? Or had I just wanted it so badly that I rushed forward recklessly? How long will this last? Will we lose our home?
...are in the Lord's hands
In the midst of complete insecurity and panic, I was reminded of a scripture that brought me comfort in the past:
He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold or silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.” Malachi 3:3-4 NIV
God was refining us. When a silver smith is working with a raw piece of silver, he must remove the impurities. If not, the final product will have blemishes and weaknesses. In order to remove these imperfections, the silver smith must hold the silver in the hottest part of the fire.
Here is the part I love the most! A skilled silver smith knows that too little time in the fire will not remove the imperfections. But he is also keenly aware of the point at which the fire will destroy the metal. Therefore, he never takes his eyes off of the silver while it is in the fire. He watches and waits for just the right moment. And when the impurities have melted away, just before permanent damage is done, he pulls it out, shapes it into a beautiful masterpiece, and allows it to cool!
What a beautiful image of our God, who lovingly allows hardship and suffering in our lives. To shape us, mold us, and strengthen us. But who never takes his eyes off of us! If you are in that fire, please remember that God created you for a purpose. He created you in his image. And he desires to help you through the gift of his Holy Spirit! He will not let the fire burn you up. But he will allow the fire to melt away those imperfections and impurities that plague all of us!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post as I reveal what happened next. Let me just say, some fires are hotter than others…
Luke 11:11-13 NIV
Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!