Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Abiding the Fire of Refinement

“... everything that can withstand fire, shall be passed through fire, and it shall be clean. Nevertheless it shall also be purified with the water for purification; and whatever cannot withstand fire, shall be passed through the water.”

~Numbers 31:23 (NRSV)

We might uncommonly experience the rousing of the Lord to the extent of the waking terror of fear, the reproach of trial, or the dryness of his absence; these, and more, are indicators of the fire of refinement, and those times we cannot withstand fire, the Lord knows; we are passed through the purifying water.

This sort of theology—the portions of refinement resplendent in faith—are crucial to our belief, because God will not save us from trial; indeed, it is central to our development in growth, and in relationship with him.

Real Reason For Faith

Those given to atheism, and varying degrees of unbelief, have no idea what they are missing out on when belief in God converts to strength in polarising weakness.

We might contend with them that the existence of God—scientific proof of same—is irrelevant when we have the tools for life: strength and hope in place of weakness and despairing; grace to forgive because we have been forgiven; knowledge of eternity, not merely this passing human world, etc.

The list goes on regarding reasons for faith.

One repeated reading of Romans chapter 8, even to the uninitiated, sparks the level of intrigue regarding the victorious life—not because we have no trials, but because we do!

The real reason for faith is first true resilient survival—to embrace life, accepting many things will not be to our liking; that God loves us still, and helps us, in the groaning of our spirits. This stowed, we thrive.

Water And Fire

Within the context of our living circumstances, we face our triumphs and tragedies with water and fire; water will purify the gleaning of faith in the presence of blessing, and fire will serve as a vehicle through which our faith is grown—despite our reticence to be there, for no one likes being burned.

This spiritual fire that we run through will not condemn us nor kill us, but it will burn off deficiencies—if we will let God have access. Trials are opportunities. If the fire is too much, at any time, we are spared and purified with water.


Faith is urgent in this. It presses us through many challenges and it takes us through the fire of refinement until we are strengthened. Weakness is what we should bear through the fire. Weakness, before God, will gain for us, strength.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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