When added stress at home, at work, at school or sudden illness and death strike — it can reveal who a person really is. Keep squeezing. What is going to come out? Some people explode in fits of rage while others take their frustration out on anyone in their radius. Some people are able to stay calm, composed and polite. Watch them under pressure.
Take Jesus Christ, for example. When put under severe pressure, 1Peter 2:23 says, “He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.” — New Living Translation.
The Contemporary English Version of that Verse reads: “Although he was abused, he never tried to get even. And when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he had faith in God, who judges fairly.”
The only thing that came out of Jesus when he was “squeezed” was what was in him — kindness, patience, mercy, love, forgiveness and trust in God.
Hebrews 5:7-9 says, “God had the power to save Jesus from death. And while Jesus was on earth, he begged God with loud crying and tears to save him. He truly worshiped God, and God listened to his prayers. Jesus is God’s own Son, but still he had to suffer before he could learn what it really means to obey God. Suffering made Jesus perfect, and now he can save forever all who obey him.” — Contemporary English Version.
Suffering under pressure brought the best out in Jesus. It can also bring the best out in us, if we let it refine us and teach us to rely more on God and reflect His image in all things.
As 1Peter 1:7 says, “The purpose of these troubles is to test your faith as fire tests how genuine gold is. Your faith is more precious than gold, and by passing the test, it gives praise, glory, and honor to God.” — GOD’S WORD Translation.
Comparing the process of refining silver and gold to God refining His people is mentioned in other Scriptures. Psalm 66:10 says, “For you have examined us, O God; You have refined us as when refining silver.” — New World Translation.
Malachi 3:3 says, “He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the LORD.” — New Living Translation.
Perhaps you heard the story about some students of the Bible who were puzzled about what this refining process included, and how they could better understand the workings of God through it.
So one of the Bible students called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. The Bible student didn’t mention any curiosity about the process of refining silver but simply watched the silversmith as he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up.
He explained that, in refining silver, one needs to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames are hottest, so as to burn away all the impurities.
The student asked the silversmith if it was necessary to sit in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered “yes,” adding, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire.
“Why?” the student asked. The silversmith replied, “If the silver is left even a moment too long in the flames, it could be destroyed.”
The Bible student was silent for a moment. Then the student asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled and answered, “Oh, that’s easy — when I see my image reflected in it. It shines with a mirror-like quality when it is ready to pour.”
The Bible student also smiled. It all made sense. It reminded the student how God carefully watches His people when they are undergoing fiery tests and will not let them be tempted beyond what they could bear, as 1 Corinthians 10:13 says.
It also made the Bible student appreciate that when the heat is on, God wants to see His image reflected in us! As 1Peter 1:6-7 clarifies, “You are extremely happy about these things, even though you have to suffer different kinds of trouble for a little while now. The purpose of these troubles is to test your faith as fire tests how genuine gold is. Your faith is more precious than gold, and by passing the test, it gives praise, glory, and honor to God.” — GOD’S WORD Translation.
So when you feel the heat of life pulling something out of you — just remember, if we want the good inside of us to be refined, we must prepare for the pressure, endure the fire and allow those trials to bring out the very best in us to the glory of God.
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