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Fire is dangerous, destructive, scary. But the Bible promises us the Refiner’s fire has purpose in our lives, even when it feels like just a forest fire.
Have you been struggling through a difficult season? Feeling a little lost, maybe even abandoned by God? I know I have! Grasping at His truths and promises, but fighting fear has been my everyday for months.
And in one quick, almost throw-away moment driving down the highway, God reminded me He’s working all things together for my good.
Thick black smoke rose from the dense Georgia pines enveloping our van as we drove past. Flickering orange-red tongues licked at the ground, steadily gaining territory in its battle for supremacy over the vegetation that crowded the forest floor.
My daughter gasped. Should we call 9-1-1?!
No, honey, it’s what’s called a ‘controlled burn.’ They do it on purpose. The foresters use the fire to clear the forest floor of weeds that are taking up the resources the trees need, giving the trees more water and nutrients.
The fire also burns away dead material leaving only the nutrient rich soil. The fire looks scary, but it is a necessary part of keeping the forest healthy.
I kept driving but I couldn’t stop thinking about the fire. Something in those flames and the controlled burn felt like God drawing my attention.
Don’t you see that is what I’ve been doing in your life? In a flash, God shared this intimate vision of how the Refiner’s fire of my injury had been working in my life.
Isaiah 48:10 (ESV) Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
I’ve seen God’s hand using this time in many ways despite the emotional and physical pain.
Before my injury, I had been struggling with feeling overwhelmed by my schedule. Between marriage, parenting, homeschool, church, my part-time job, and various activities, I couldn’t catch my breath.
Everything I was doing was important and worthwhile, but it was too much. I had felt God telling me to let some things go, but I didn’t know what, so I just kept holding onto it all.Everything good isn't always what God has for us to do. The Refiner's fire refined my mission. Click To Tweet
As an extreme introvert, I need hours of silence before the noise of the world dims enough for me to hear the quiet voice inside my heart. I can’t write; I can’t find my center, feeling frazzled and discouraged. Some people can do so much more, but I can’t. And I’m realizing that’s okay.
I was missing my mission playing the comparison game.
I was looking to other women in the body of Christ and feeling there was a list of things I was supposed to be doing, while I should have been looking at Christ.
Before my hip replacement failed, I had prayed for God to help me find some rest. One of these days, I’ll learn to be careful what I pray for . . . 😉I was missing MY mission playing the comparison game. But God gave my mission field only to me. Click To Tweet
The Refiner’s fire cleared away good things that weren’t God things
And gave me time to focus on my spiritual life, my marriage, my parenting, and being busy at home. I’d been so busy everywhere else, that I had nothing left for my home.
By clearing the forest floor of my life, the Refiner’s fire gave the most important things room to grow. I didn’t realize how much busy had been robbing us of joy.
But God did. And I miss my friends, but I don’t miss busy. I love having all day to focus on doing what’s best for my daughter’s education. I’ve seen her blossoming with our extended times at home. She needed the structure and attention.
I’ve seen my marriage grow leaps and bounds during this season. My husband has been beyond selfless in his care for me, which has just opened my heart to him in beautiful ways.
I’ve learned to give him more of me as well. Giving so much of my time and myself to everyone else had left him feeling left out and alone. We’ve learned to be friends again, laughing together, holding hands, falling in love all over again.
A fire might be temporarily painful for the forest, but what remains is stronger, and the new growth is lush and rich.
1 Peter 1:7 (ESV) So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
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