Refining Fire

We’ve all seen the memes. And the jokes. Even the Christmas ornaments. 2020 was a dumpster fire. I have to admit, I’ve laughed. I’ve played into it. I’ve probably even said it. But is it true?

I believe that this last year had been hard. I know it has. It’s been hard on us physically, emotionally, and mentally. We’ve been lonely. We’ve lacked contact with others. It’s been hard on small businesses. It’s been hard for teachers and parents. It’s been hard on my single friends. It’s just been plain old hard.

But, you know what? Despite getting Covid, despite being quarantined twice, despite missing out on basketball and school activities, my 12 year old has told me numerous times that 2020 has stretched her. She’s learned and grown. If kids are saying these things, I think we need to listen.

In fact, I really want to propose something to you. I’m not sure that 2020 has been as much of a dumpster fire as it has a refining fire. 1Peter 1:6-7 says, “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. “

In facing the facts, we have been grieved by various trials. Collectively. Whether it’s death, job loss, financial struggle, relationship strain, or something else collectively we have been tried. We have grieved. And, trust me, our faith has been tested.

Never in my lifetime has our country been so divided. I don’t remember ever feeling like there’s so much us vs. them. Never has there been such a lack of nuance and understanding. It’s hard to even know what to do, how to react, or even how to feel.

But if this is a refining fire, what does that mean? What does it mean to be refined by fire?

God knows what your faith is like. He knows how much or what kind of faith we have. He doesn’t need to test us to figure that out. But sometimes we have no idea of what our faith is like. We need to see the results of our refined faith to realize what’s been there all along.

I have gone down some serious rabbit trails of gold refining videos. It’s so interesting and there can be nuance. But, you know the main drill. Take the gold, burn it with fire or chemicals, and watch the impurities separate from the gold. That’s not unlike us in fiery trials. Take one of us, put us in a trial, shake us up a bit, maybe stir the pot. . .and viola’. We discover what was there all along.

How has God been refining you in this time? Maybe you lost your job and you’ve had to rely on Him for finances. Maybe even for your literal daily bread. Maybe you got sick. Covid has affected you, and you’re still not physically the same. You’ve had to learn to slow down. You’ve had to rely on Him to pay your bills or take care of your children. I’m sure some of us have spent too much time inside, with our families, and we feel that we are lacking as parents. We’ve been refined and realized that God has provided this special family time to strengthen our bonds and make us better people.

Whatever it is. However you’ve been squeezed, walked through trials, or refined by fire, remember this. It is not in vain. It is so that the tested genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold, will be found to result in praise and glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus. It’s all to bring Him praise.

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