When God Turns Up The Heat
“But he knows the way that I take, when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” —Job 23:10, NIV
Job might not have understood what was going on in heaven during the darkest hours of his life, so he might not have understood fully the significance of these words.
He was eager to defend himself before God. In fact, he demanded to be able to present his case to God. Job was certain that God had made a mistake, a miscalculation, that he had mistaken Job for a sinner. He was just as certain that God could be made to see that he already was “gold.”
But the statement goes far beyond the meaning Job gave it. His words are the cry of those, who like him, are going through deep waters but who understand that those circumstances are allowed by a gracious God to refine us a Christ-followers, to chip away at a little bit more of whatever it is that keeps us from being more like him.
God knows the circumstances because he is the Master of them. He knows they are a double-edged sword. We can see them as a test to pass, which is his intent, and walk closer to God through them. Or we can listen to the Tempter’s voice and believe them to be what they are not, and walk away from God.
When we choose to accept them as God’s way of making us into the people he wants us to be, we can say with assurance that the end result will be “gold,” We will be people that much purer, that much closer to the image of the One we are called to imitate.
Is the process painful? Ask Job. The kind of fire that purifies gold is never pleasant. The journey is difficult at times. But the destination, once reached, is a little like that of a mother who has just had her newborn placed on her chest after a long and hard delivery. The pain is forgotten in the joy of the goal reached.