Out of Our Comfort Zone
Occasionally we find ourselves in situations that feel impossible, or at the very least, way outside our comfort zone. It could be a job change, a medical diagnosis, a broken or strained relationship, a loss or unexpected interruption to our normal lives.
We may even wonder if we have done something wrong and lost God’s favor. Whatever the reason, we want out of those uncomfortable positions as quickly as possible.
But what if God is in the middle of those times? God does not cause bad things to happen, but we are not promised a perfect life. We have an enemy who wants to see us knocked down and out of the fight. When those times come, does God really use them for our benefit? We often quote the verse in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
He can turn the bad things around and make good come from them. Sometimes God walks with us through the storm instead of taking us out of it. And for what purpose? The storm strengthens us and makes us more dependent on Him if we cling to Him and His promises instead of getting bitter, angry or depressed.
Although unpleasant, we do go through the refining fire. In that process, defects in our character are exposed and can be dealt with properly. I Peter 1:6-7 reminds us of the purpose of trials, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
For metal to be tested and proved, it must go through a refining process. Refining involves heat to expose and remove impurities. The following poem says it more eloquently than I can, so I’ll let it speak for itself:
He sat by a fire of seven-fold heat,
As He watched by the precious ore,
And closer He bent with a searching gaze
As He heated it more and more.
He knew He had ore that could stand the test,
And He wanted the finest gold
To mold as a crown for the King to wear,
Set with gems with a price untold.
So He laid our gold in the burning fire,
Tho’ we fain would have said Him “Nay,”
And He watched the dross that we had not seen,
And it melted and passed away.
And the gold grew brighter and yet more bright,
But our eyes were so dim with tears,
We saw but the fire – not the Master’s hand,
And questioned with anxious fears.
Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,
As it mirrored a Form above,
That bent o’er the fire, tho’ unseen by us,
With a look of ineffable love.
Can we think that it pleases His loving heart
To cause a moment’s pain?
Ah, no! but He saw through the present cross
The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye,
With a love that is strong and sure,
And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat,
Than was needed to make it pure.
(Taken from Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles Cowman, copyright 1928 & 1965, by Mrs. Charles Cowman. Used by permission of Zondervan.)
The next time you find yourself in a trial, trust your Heavenly Father to use it to refine you and make you stronger.