Romans 5:3-4, "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
Zechariah 13:9, “I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”
It may sound great to be compared to fine metals like silver and gold until we understand what it takes for them to become pure. They must be put in the fire, where the heat is turned up, so the impurities can be removed. I don't know about you, but this doesn't sound like something I'd ever be interested in!
God knows that we need to go through a similar process, so He uses difficulties in our lives to refine us. When we decide to give our lives to Christ, this doesn't mark the end of our suffering. We live in a fallen world where evil exists, illness exists, pain exists – and the list goes on of things that we may endure – but because we have Jesus, THERE IS PURPOSE, THERE IS PEACE, THERE IS HOPE in the midst of our suffering!
Sometimes life can throw us challenges that make us feel like a scrap of metal: unworthy, wasteful, ugly, broken – all the lies that the devil feeds us in a season of suffering – but we serve the Ultimate Refiner! Jesus wants to turn any suffering we may endure into something beautiful that can be used for His Glory. The process we go through may not be easy, but with Jesus, we know that "suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope."
If you are in the midst of a struggle, write these verses down and put them where you can see them throughout the day to remind you that God is working even in your suffering.
Lord, I bring my suffering to You. You are the Ultimate Refiner, and I want to learn and grow in this season of my life so I can be better used by You. In Jesus' name, Amen!