The pain was deep, raw. As I told a friend, I felt as if I'd been gutted. I knew it wasn't intentional, but this knowledge didn't soften the blow. Because I carried on as usual I knew the other party wasn't aware of my feelings, but that was poor comfort.

I stewed. I grappled with the ugliness of my emotions. I sought counsel from others who were removed from the situation. I asked them to pray. I prayed. I carried the hurt around for a while. Finally, when I was too weary to carry it any longer or any further, I relented and asked God to carry it for me.

And He did.

As He gracefully circumcised my heart (Deut. 10:16), He fixed my gaze on His truth. He showed me that even in this, He is molding me.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,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. - 1 Peter 1:6-7 (ESV)

He opened my eyes to the pride and anger nestled beneath the pain. And He pointed to a new path, filled with joys and opportunities I never imagined. Isn't that just like Him? The Apostle Paul said so (Eph. 3:20).

The genuineness of my faith matters to God, more than it matters to me. What a shame it would be to be so busy nursing my wounds that I miss this truth! Yes, affliction is painful. But He is not without mercy. For he knows our frame;he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:14)

God is a refiner's fire (Malachi 3:1-4). He does not consume. He removes the dross and makes my paltry offerings a better sacrifice.

"He is a refiner's fire, and that makes all the difference. A refiner's fire does not destroy indiscriminately like a forest fire. A refiner's fire does not consume completely like the fire of an incinerator. A refiner's fire refines. It purifies. It melts down the bar of silver or gold, separates out the impurities that ruin its value, burns them up, and leaves the silver and gold intact. He is like a refiner's fire.

"It does say FIRE. And therefore purity and holiness will always be a dreadful thing. There will always be a proper "fear and trembling" in the process of becoming pure...He is like fire and fire is serious. You don't fool around with it.

"But it does say, he is like a REFINER'S fire. And therefore this is not merely a word of warning, but a tremendous word of hope. The furnace of affliction in the family of God is always for refinement, never for destruction."- John Piper (source)


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