He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” Job 1:21 NLT.
Morpheus once said, “There is a difference in knowing the path and walking the path.” I can still remember the confused face of Neo trying to understand this statement. In Christianity we have so many Scriptures that we believe form the core of our faith. Whenever we face little hills we are very quick to take them out as our arsenal: greater is he that is in me; Christ in me the hope of glory; I have been crucified with Christ; no weapon formed against me shall prosper; though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. We “believe” them to be true and they are a reminder of who we are in Christ.
We “know” that when persecutions or trials come these words are embedded in our hearts and their application is instinctive. Yet when the pressure piles up and like a “schooled” novice actor when the director says Act One, Scene Two, Action!, we freeze. When it’s time to recite the script we are weak at the knees. And all those long hours spent memorizing amount to nothing. Our big break to make it into the industry is fading away as this stage fright overwhelms us. We fail the audition even before it begins.
I’ve always been fascinated by the people in the Bible (e.g. David and Daniel). I know they were men like me who also had bad days and flaws. Yet when they were faced with challenges they did not fail. I often wonder if I would have gone into the lion’s den. If my faith would have propelled me to go into the furnace. These people knew and understood that suffering and persecution are part of their walk with GOD. In above Scripture Job knew that he must take the good and the bad of this walk like a man, must take these punches like Iron Mike took Holyfield’s left hook. He knew GOD allowed the situation and he did not waver in his belief.
“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction,” Isaiah 48:10 NIV. Even Scripture tells us that the furnace is part of the testing. It’s the fire that refines and prepares us for what GOD has in store for us. “See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work,” Isaiah 54:16a. It’s the fire that forges a weapon that is fit to be used by GOD. Hebrews 5:8-9 shows us that the suffering prepared Christ for His ministry. And this suffering perfected Him and He became the author of eternal salvation.
Even Christ Himself had to suffer to be able to be used by GOD. So if the author of our faith went through suffering to be usable then we should also welcome it with open hearts. We should actually be excited because we know GOD is at work. To the world it may seem like our GOD has forsaken us but we know He has an ace up his sleeve, a spiritual Queen’s Gambit at work. As Morpheus said to Neo (as Holy Spirit says to us Christians), “I can only show you the door, it’s you that has to walk through it.”
It’s the fire that forges a weapon that is fit to be used by GOD