The events of the last year have brought me to a place of reflection. So much has been going on in my life and in the lives of my loved ones. There has been death, sickness, financial struggles, and overall difficult circumstances. People are suffering and not all of them are unrighteous.
2Ti 2:20 (KJV) – But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
There are some in this great body of Christ who, like fine metals, are refined in the fire. Their lives are marked by suffering that would turn some to dust. They are placed on the heat and shaped and reshaped. Just as things begin to cool off they are placed back into the fire. It seems to be one hard thing after another. Yet, they still believe. There are others whose lives are like wood being carved into the image of God. The process is a slow and steady progression in which their strong, sturdy form is slowly but deftly whittled into the image of Christ. Rough periods are dispersed in their lives like the sanding required to smooth rough spots on a carving. Yet, they still believe. Then there are the earthen vessels. These are the people whose lives demonstrate the constant shaping on the potter’s wheel. These are the people who face circumstances that have little chance of drastic improvement. Yet, they still believe.
Yes, there are some who follow Jesus and live without much suffering. Some believe that salvation will be pain free. People get angry with God about the things that happen. They rage because they don’t believe He could be right. I’ve learned that pain doesn’t mean that God’s love has changed. In it, there is a plan; if we will trust Him. I’ve found the best advice:
When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful. – Ro 12:12 (KJV)
Look around. There are people going through everywhere. In the end, what truly matters is that we still believe.