There’s the old internet story about the young boy who helped the butterfly out of its chrysalis. In short, the butterfly ended up being too weak and I believe too mal formed to make it.
There’s another story about how a sword maker takes a piece of iron out of the furnace and pounds away at it repeatedly. Until the iron is rather straight, shiny, almost mirror-like, and sharp enough to cut straight through bone and marrow (or even slice through paper if it comes to that!)
Then there’s the gold, which is refined in the fire, until the dross is off it, and it’s worth something.
Same thing goes with the piece of coal that’s put under so much pressure that a diamond is produced.
Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den.. and those lions were hungry to begin with. In fact, they were probably ravenous beasts.
There’s also the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who got thrown into the furnace.
You basically know the stories..
These men.. they all served God. Whole-heartedly with everything they had.
God allowed the butterfly to fight it’s way out of the cocoon so that it would develop the strength to survive in the world outside.
The sword would not be of any use in it’s purpose.. although the iron it was made of could have probably been used to deal serious damage.
God never says to His children that the trials of this life would be easy. No! Instead He tells us that if it weren’t for the trials that we would not be worthy enough to be called by His name. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The saints will, and do suffer all kinds of things for His name’s sake. Many will actually be put to horrible deaths… (like beheadings, or cast in oil, or scrounged, or even crucified).
That’s the life of a Christian.. and yeah, we can complain all we want to. But it’s not going to do us any good. Because God’s purpose is being fulfilled in our lives.
I’m pleading with you right now, today.. not to think that God has anything against you, or that you are not worthy to be in the middle of these sufferings. (1 Peter 4:12)
We go through what seems so much heartache… Like Job did, or John the Baptist, or even Jesus. We sometimes question God about all our sufferings.
This next line will hit some of you where it hurts..
But even Mary suffered because of the suffering of God’s Son.
She didn’t want to see Jesus crucified, or hung on the cross. (Luke 2:35)
No way.. not her Son!
But in the end Mary stood up and was strong. Because even Mary knew that the end was even greater than the beginning!
I may not know where Christians are concerning their sufferings, and I’ve certainly at times may have grumbled against their sufferings), but I can see an end to their sufferings, especially after they have been through so much! I can’t tell you when that end is. (James 5:7-11)
But I do know that suffering people will come out of the fire gleaming like steel, and precious like gold!
More important.. remember that our sufferings as Christians, are a vital part of our testimony. It’s a part of our mission.. a part we cannot preach, or even live without.
No suffering means no testimony. No testimony means that God hasn’t worked in our lives to refine us and purify us, and make us stronger for what is yet to come.