God’s people are as precious metals, afflictions are His furnace, purification is His design. He therefore puts them into the furnace, and He keeps them there until His end is accomplished. But He supervises the whole process Himself: He regulates the heat, watches its operation, and sits awaiting the fulfillment of His design. He will not be disappointed, for if one affliction does not produce the desired end He sends another.–Daily Remembrancer November 11 Evening
This purging and purifying the author here speaks of is personal. A Christian’s life is not smooth. If it was then Satan has us exactly where he wants us. But God uses the devil as an agent for His own good.
Beloved, have you wondered why one fiery trial has followed another? Simply because the dross was not altogether removed. Your sorest trials are among God’s best mercies, because they are intended to make you fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints of light. Think not that you are being abandoned in your sorrows. Your Lord intently watches over you and as soon as your pride, obstinacy, worldliness, and opposition to His will are purged, the fire is withdrawn; and your testing will end. There shall not be one trial or suffering more than is necessary. Your Redeemer who died for your sins is also your Refiner even now preparing you for glory.–Daily Remembrancer November 11 Evening
I remember many times in my life, though I was determined to serve the Lord, that I had these types of trials. One in particular went on for several months. In my second year as a believer, God called me to ‘forsake all’ and follow him, without any preconditions. I was resisting God, saying ‘Yes, but…”. I was putting up resistance to total surrender, because it hurt.
This was in some ways like the rich young ruler who came to Jesus, a self-righteous man who thought that he had kept the commandments (Matthew 19:16-26). But thankfully it was not the same sort of outcome. I was not claiming that I had kept all the commandments but I was certainly holding back on God. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all that he had and ‘come follow me’. He was saying the same to me then.
In my case, I knew I had to ‘forsake all’, all of my own plans for my life, as a career in physics research, and follow Christ. But that part was the easiest. I also knew I had to forsake, in my heart, my girlfriend who at the time I hoping to marry. But God wanted me to put Him first in my life. So a battle really raged in my heart and soul. I was being put in the fire. And when I finally gave in to God, that battle stopped immediately.
The upshot of that was: I wrote to my girlfriend at the time and told her how I was going to follow Christ as His disciple (in 1974) and she dropped me, saying I was becoming too religious for her (and that was strange because we was on a Catholic mission at the time). But not only that battle ceased then, that was also the same time I met Christina, who 2 years later became my wife. She was the one God wanted me to marry, to better serve Him and to better keep me humble, I am sure.