God Uses Fire to Shape Us

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There are several verses in the Bible that speak of the trials and tribulations or, in other words, the tragedies, problems, pain, suffering and difficulties in life. Isaiah 43:2 speaks of these things as “walking through fire” and in 1 Peter 4:12 a “fiery ordeal”. Peter is explaining that we should not be surprised by the trials and tribulations we will go through. The truth is we live in a fallen world, the creation has been corrupted by sin and so we reap the consequences. Why do good people get sick with cancer and die young? Why are people killed everyday in car accidents? Why are the relationships we are in falling apart? Sin and its consequences are very real and effect every aspect of our lives but we have a loving, merciful and faithful God who will use the sin and the consequences for his good purposes. One of those purposes is in helping us grow more and more into the likeness of Jesus. Timothy Keller in his book called Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering says this about the “furnace”, “the biblical understanding of a furnace is more what we would call a “forge”. Anything with that degree of heat is, of course, a very dangerous and powerful thing. However, if used properly, it does not destroy. Things put into a furnace properly can be shaped, refined, purified and even beautified.” God is taking the lump of iron that he created in your mother’s womb and through the trials of tribulations, through the fiery furnace of life, he is shaping you into what he designed you to be.
The book of Daniel tells of the story of Shadrach, Meschah and Abednego who when told, along with all the people, to bow down to the giant gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had made when the trumpets sounded, didn’t bow down. They stood up tall and confident in their belief in God and God alone. And they were taken, tied up and thrown into a fiery furnace; a furnace so hot that when the doors were opened to shove them in, it burned up the guards that opened the door. You may be in a fiery furnace right now but when we go into a fiery furnace with trust and love for God, he will be with us and lead us through it. Like these three men, we can come out of the furnace with the ropes off, nothing singed or burned and not even smelling of smoke. Our God is that great! (Daniel 3:22-27) Jesus says in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus is the hope to see us through our fiery ordeals. We can be still in the eye of the storm where there is peace and know that God is God. (Psalm 46:10)
When you aren’t feeling the peace, and the hurt, pain and trouble is overwhelming you, it is time to look closely into yourself and with God’s help discover what is keeping you from taking heart, having courage and gaining the peace that passes all understanding. This is part of the shaping that the fire is doing. God loves us so much that he doesn’t leave us in our mess but works at shaping us into what he intended all along.
Lord, God we thank you for the fiery furnace of life for without it we would never become all that you intended us to be. Help us through each trial and help us get to the place of peace in the eye of the storm which is in Jesus Christ. Amen.

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