No one ever wants to spend time in the fire. We beg God to remove us from the fire when things become uncomfortable. Because it hurts. Being refined in the fire is painful. And our flesh doesn’t like any pain. We want it to be over immediately. But, if we lean into the fire and allow God to mold us into what He wants us to be, we will reflect our God when we come out of the fire.
God doesn’t remove us from the trial until we have learned what the trial appeared to teach us. When I’m amid heartache, if I can pause and ask God what He wants me to learn from the trial, I can absorb the wisdom and knowledge that God wants to teach me. If I resist and fight against it, I stay in the fire even longer.
Therefore, I have to surrender my control to God. I can’t learn from Him when I think I know all about something. Some things He instructs me to don’t make sense to my carnal brain. Because God’s ways are so easy, we usually dismiss them and think they won’t work. I typically have to do everything the hard way, and when I have exhausted all of my possibilities, only then will I truly seek the Lord. When I seek Him, however, from a place of total surrender, I can find Him and walk with Him.
God and I both can’t be in control. We have to decide who will be the Shepherd of our lives. Who do we want to be in control of our lives? Us, with our limited knowledge? Or God, who created the Universe and everything in it? If we surrender our lives to God, He will refine us in the fire until we reflect Him. While it will not be easy or pain-free, it will be worth it.
The fire provides light.
Struggles are like magnifying glass. Anytime I am in an uncomfortable situation, the challenge allows me to reach other people. I can reach people when they can see me and are interested in what I have to say. Hardships get attention. Therefore, if I approach my challenges as a way to shine in the darkness, I can lean in and allow God to use me.
My scars are an excellent example of this. When I see other people staring at me, I can hide, be rude, or use the opportunity to show kindness and give someone else a little glimpse of my God.
When I saw my scars as a gift from God to reach other people, they stopped hurting me.
We all hold scars. How we choose to carry them makes the most significant difference. We can carry them with shame and let them transform into a burden. Or we can carry them with love and gratitude and let them become a gift. Now I use them to inspire, reach, teach, and connect with other people.