PSALM 66:10-12: “God, you have put us to the test. You put us through fire to make us like silver. You put us in prison. You placed heavy loads on our backs. You let people run over our heads. We went through fire and water. But you brought us to a place where we have everything we need.” (NIRV)
OBSERVATION: Why is life so hard? If God really loves me, why doesn’t He simply shower me with blessings and remove all difficulties from my life? Is there really any redeeming purpose in the suffering and struggles that I face in this life?
If I am ever going to make sense out of the struggles of life, I must first stop struggling against them. I set myself up for constant disappointment and unnecessary emotional duress, when I do not accept that fact that life is a struggle – for everyone! As a Christian I have been given a glimpse into the eternal purpose of the struggles I face in life. They are not without purpose. In fact God allows and uses them to purify my life. God uses the fiery trials of life to purify our faith, so that we can come out refined like a piece of precious silver.
Silver does not start out pure. The impurities in the silver ore diminish its value, weaken its strength, and dull its beauty. This is also true with our lives. Sin does the same thing to our personal value, strength, and beauty. God has called us to become like Jesus, yet there are many impurities in our life that need to be removed. The difficulties we face in life are the agents that help remove them. God allows us to go through these, because He loves us. He is not content to see us bound by our sin and limitations. God desires to set us free!
Why does it take a struggle to do this? We all have blind spots in our lives. It is easy for us to fall back into old patterns, and to begin relying upon our own wisdom and understanding, rather than seeking the Lord’s. However, when we go through difficulty it causes us to turn to the Lord, cry out to God, and listen to His voice. Difficulty reveals the impurities in our life, and it causes us to run to God for forgiveness, cleansing, and strength. The Apostle Paul learned this in his life and ministry.
- “Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the hard times we suffered in Asia Minor. We were having a lot of trouble. It was far more than we could stand. We even thought we were going to die. In fact, in our hearts we felt as if we were under the sentence of death. But that happened so that we would not depend on ourselves but on God. He raises the dead to life. God has saved us from deadly dangers. And he will continue to do it. We have put our hope in him. He will continue to save us.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NIRV
Paul recognized that the difficulties he was facing were really a benefit to him, as they caused him to trust in God rather than himself. He also realized that it led him to the only one who could deliver him! And God did deliver Him, as He will deliver us – from all of our struggles and difficulties. He will give us grace in the valley and lead us to a place of provision and victory. This is our hope, and this is God’s promise! The Psalmist proclaims – “We went through fire and water. But you brought us to a place where we have everything we need.”
The reality is – everyone struggles. Life is difficult for everybody. It doesn’t matter how famous you are, how much money you have, or how talented you may be. Life is a struggle. We can either plow through it alone, continually tired, disappointed, and frustrated. Or, we can run to the Lord, receive His forgiveness and cleansing, draw upon His grace, and persevere into His deliverance, provision, and victory.
When we embrace the struggle, turn it over to the Lord, and position our hearts in faith – He always leads us to victory. This is why the Bible calls us more than an overcomer. We not only win the battle through the Lord, we also come out purified and more like Jesus every time!
Lord, help me to trust You completely as I walk through the struggles and difficulties of life. Purify me like silver. When I walk through the fire and the storms of life, constantly remind me that You are leading me, You are perfecting me, and I will come to the place where You will provide me with everything that I need!
In Jesus Name!