6 You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? “From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.7 they are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say ,‘Yes, I knew of them.’ 8 You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ears have not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth.9 For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to destroy you completely.10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.
Question: Have you noticed that our greatest spiritual lessons are learned through episodes of pain, suffering, and adversity?
Question: Have you noticed that real spiritual growth and character development does not happen during times of prosperity and comfort? They occur during times of intense pain and suffering.
Ex: If I could go back and chart the greatest episodes of growth and spiritual depth in my life, they ALWAYS occurred during times of adversity and pain… I mean without exception.
The fact of the matter is, grass grows thicker and greener in the valley than it does on the mountaintop. it is the same with us. We grow more in character and spirituality in the valleys of life, than we do on the mountaintops of life.
That’s just the way it is:
– Just as fire purifies gold
– Just as heat strengthens and tempers steel.
– Just as boiling water brings out the flavor of tea.
We must enter times of adversity if we are going to ever be fully refined in our character, and drawn to a deep abiding relationship with Christ, apart from the brokenness and pain, that comes through suffering and adversity.
Suffering Truly is God’s Instrument for Growth.
Job said in Job 23:10, “…when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
8 Praise our God, all peoples,let the sound of his praise be heard;9 he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.10 For you, God, tested us;you refined us like silver.11 You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.12 You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.13 I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you—14 vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble.
1 Peter 1:6-7
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.