It’s not often that thermometers in Chicago report triple digit temperatures, and when they do so for three days in a row we feel the heat.
Pavement is buckling (thirty roads and counting), vegetation is wilting, and air conditioners are working overtime. We all must guard against dehydration and heat exhaustion, and those with heart or respiratory conditions are at extra risk.
Intense heat has a way of exposing our weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
A shallow rooted tree may look healthy enough, but it will fail under conditions of drought and heat. I may be able to run a mile or two with only minor discomfort on a cool morning, but I am not prepared to run under full sun in triple digit temps, and believe me, I won’t be attempting such craziness!
Similarly, relationships, families, organizations, and entire cultures may be reasonably functional under comfortable conditions, but what happens when things get toasty?
I’ve observed individuals, families and communities demonstrate great tenacity, generosity, unity and joy under devastating fires of adversity. On the other hand, economic heat in our country and in Europe has uncovered the greed, corruption, entitlement, and selfishness that are rotting the support structures of our societies.
God uses the heat of difficult circumstances – metaphorically called the refiner’s fire, the process of removing impurities from precious metal – for proving the faith and strengthening the hearts of believers. It is uncomfortable, and frankly I don’t like it when God turns up the heat in my life, but I know that his purposes are redemptive.
By the grace of God, Jesus Christ saves us from the fire of the righteous judgment of a Holy God. God does not hesitate to apply a little circumstantial heat to draw us closer to Jesus, our Savior.
“…now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
How do you handle the heat, metaphorical or physical? Have you ever experienced God’s refining fire?