Navigating a Crisis of Belief
Recorded October 22 during my lunch break, I found myself struggling intensely with a lot of anger triggers, provoked by memories of the past, expectations of the present, opportunity loss of the future, and so on. Oppressed like a relentless enemy who will not rest content until he sees you have been duly annihilated with extreme prejudice, it is embedded in what people have said about me, how people have deliberately used me; it is the unbelievable disregard and dismissal of the weight of evidence in a court of law; it is the literal injustices suffered; it is the thousands upon thousands of dollars seized by force and perjury; it is the years of family life, ministry, and relationships this world idolizes and lusts after with inordinate affection: all sacrificed on the altar of humanism and atheism; it’s principalities, powers, spiritual wickedness in high places; it’s all around, up and down, and it’s hell on earth.
Immeasurable pain and spiritual oppression summarized in these three little words: “How could you…!”
I wonder sometimes whether the reason why God allows us to go through hell on this earth is to get the hell out of us: things that were there that we didn’t know were there; things that were there that weren’t willing to admit were there; things we pretended were not there and worked so hard to conceal. But then we go through this period of trial, and we see the dross begin to come out.
What’s interesting about the refining process is that while most people would be willing to accept an unrefined ore as-is and consider that to be “good enough” or valuable, they miss the point of redemption potential.
I remember shopping around for months for my former wife’s diamond engagement/wedding ring. It wasn’t enough for me to just accept anything off the shelf. I spent a lot of hours researching what the highest quality of diamond was, and began to learn about the differences between clarity, carats (or weight), etc. I found that the more expensive ones would look the same as its inexpensive counterpart, but to the untrained eye.
But if you looked closer, you would find one of them had more facets than the other. One was more clear than the other; a difference that will cost you thousands of dollars more, yet one the untrained eye could never justify paying for.
So it is with God’s children. Not only did He pay an unmatched price for the salvation of their souls, but He placed no contingencies on our purchase; regardless of our impurities.
What’s more, He continues to refine us because God cares about His children and the fruit they produce in a way that the untrained eye could never appreciate.
As the refining process begins, the dross begin to come out and it isn’t usually pretty. But don’t be ashamed when this happens. This is part of the process of removing from our lives things that shouldn’t be there, leaving behind a better you. Don’t be ashamed when the true you because the only you there is to know. And don’t be downhearted when people start to leave, or when they start to change because you are not who they accepted you for. It has already been known before of old, that a man’s foes shall be they of his own household (Matthew 10:36). Jesus also said, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. (Mark. 6:4)
Regardless of what people think or say about us, we have a duty to put God first in our lives and that may cost us our pride, our everything, and a pretty penny that most people are not willing to pay. And we will be the one that ends up with the consequences of saying “No” to God on account of it not “meeting expectations” of our family, friends, and countless other social influences.
Conversely, you are the one being refined. You are the one with the dross in the process that is having its dross removed, so that you can become purified and perfect, fit for the Master’s use. And as that dross begins to disintegrate in the furnace of your fiery trial, think about the new you and what that’s going to look like.
The dross will come out. You will be the only one going into the fire, and you will be the only one coming out. Often times, these trials are severely agitated by the lack of response or untimely support we desperately seek in these heavy moments in our lives. But know that while you’re in the fire, the LORD will be there with you. As Bro. Steve Gill said in episode #26, “the best navigator is prayer,” as simple as that might sound. Try to remember that this is a process designed to remove from your life those things that are holding you back; things that shouldn’t be there; things that are hurting you, And once the refining process is complete, it’s going to make you better and it will become healing for you.
Use this to adjust expectations in the fire and realize that the one you actually need on your side, walking you through this fire and through this life, is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. And as those impurities start to come out, don’t run and hide: turn eyes upon Jesus and remember that the His blood cleanses a man from all sin (1 John 1:7), even these.
What do you think your life will look like once the refining process has completed?
Jesus said, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven (Matthew 7:21). And not everybody goes through this process that you’re going through; one wherein a loving God is working on us, developing us, and investing in us in a way that no one else ever could.
Hang in there, soldier. God’s not done with us.
- What is Diamond Clarity? (Gemological Institute of America, Inc.)