Do you know how steel is made? It isn’t mined, it’s forged from softer iron. The impurities are removed by melting it down and adding other things to it like lime (not the fruit) and carbon.
Why is this important?
The other day, I was thinking about the difference between suffering and Biblical suffering. That may be a poor choice of words.
What I mean is, suffering without God and suffering with God in your life.
Right now, the world is going through a trial by fire. Unemployment is high since the economy worldwide has slowed. My wife is furloughed, and my hours are reduced.
We’re isolated, connecting only through technology. It’s better than nothing. If you come from a dangerous home environment, the stress is making it worse. A good home environment and the pressure still makes it a bit tense.
The world is broken. Romans 8:20-22 says: “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
It went downhill in Genesis. The verses before this give us hope.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:19-20
What does this have to do with steel? Reality is a trial by fire, a furnace. We’re all iron or a weaker metal. We get melted down, but if you remain mostly the same and just endure… you’re resilient.
Nothing is added, though. Suffering with God adds something. Extra ingredients. The removal of impurities.
Don’t believe the thought that if you get saved and follow Jesus, then life is health, wealth, and prosperity. The apostles would laugh. Especially Paul.
You will gain something, though.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
Maturity for one.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4
Perseverance builds character. What about this hope? Where does that come from?
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Jesus has overcome the world. It’s simultaneously happened and is happening. Like the coming of my son, he’s here but not born, yet our reality is changing.
Suffering with God adds something to you. In the end, when the fire is over, you’ll be a more durable metal.