Suffering Brings Up The Dross
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "Who comforts us in all our tribulation..." We are not alone in our trials and tribulations, for it is there that we encounter God in depths that can only be experienced through the crucible of suffering. The depths of comfort we receive from our God in those times, we are later able to comfort others with. This makes Christianity stand out from all other religions. Our God is real, he cares, he is personally involved, and he demonstrates his care for us in very personal ways. It's not book knowledge, it's a living relationship with the Creator who truly loves us and who visits us in our dark hours and comforts us. So if he loves us, why does he let us suffer? Because suffering matures us and shows us what really matters. It brings priorities clearly into focus. When gold is refined, it is heated up to incredibly high degrees and the dross rises to the top where it is skimmed off. Then it is heated up again even hotter, and the rest of the dross rises to the top where it is skimmed off. Then ...what is left is pure gold. "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, THOUGH IT BE TRIED WITH FIRE, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ..." 1 Peter 1:7 As in the story of the three Hebrew children whom the king had thrown into the fiery furnace, they were seen along with a fourth, the Lord who was in the fire with them (Daniel 3:24-25). As in the picture "Footprints In The Sands," we do not go through it alone. His footprints are always beside ours. And sometimes ...he carries us. When I look back on the deep trials and suffering experienced in this lifetime, I learned that only because of those dark times are we enabled to feel and understand the pain of others. Only because of those things are we able to plead for them before the Throne of God, so conditioned has our heart become as a direct result of those sufferings. Don't resist sufferings. Later when it's behind you, God will be able to use those sufferings to bring a heart of compassion alive in you which will enable you to truly care about the suffering of those who God places on your heart, and to accurately present their case before the Throne of God, through what he has taught you. I know -- that's not much comfort now while you're suffering -- but it will be later. Oh it WILL be, later! "But may the God of all grace, who called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, AFTER YOU HAVE SUFFERED AWHILE, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you." 1 Peter 5:10 And the rewards are ...eternal!