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“For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You bought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.” Psalm 66:10-12
The place of abundance soothes my heart after I’ve traversed the dangerous path to get there. At the top of Baldy Mountain in the Bear Paw Mountains of northern Montana, one can see into Canada on a clear day. The vista steals your breath as a sigh escapes from deep within. In order to be awed by the view, one had to navigate steep trails and the dangerous shale. One misstep and one would slide several hundred feet until an evergreen stopped the descent.
Life feels like navigating a mountain climb. We despair over our circumstances and cry, “When, Lord, when?” In those moments, I despair at ever reaching the place of abundance. I know that abundance often follow times of trial, but I would rather skip adversity and arrive in the place of plenty pronto. Yet I suspect that we appreciate the abundance more when we have the times of trials to contrast the two.
We can know the truth that God is in us and with us and that he never leaves us nor forsakes us, but when we experience trials that cripple us, it’s difficult to remember God’s amazing, never-ending faithful presence.
Silver is refined by placing it in fire, but the silver is not left alone. The silversmith carefully observes the process and knows that once his face is reflected in the silver, the silver is fully refined.
I like to remember that picture when I’m feeling in prison (held captive to despair), turned prisoner of war slave (searching for approval through performance) or utterly defeated (my strength fails me). But God’s face is turned towards me and he is gazing intently at me while he searches for his reflection. When I submit to the refining process, I trust that he knows exactly how to use my journey to bring about his reflection in my life.
Heavenly Father, You are good and you are trustworthy and I can trust you to keep my heart while you use the painful areas in my life to refine me into a truer reflection of you. You bring me to a place of abundance and I praise you for lavishing your love on me. Help me to surrender and yield my heart to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.