â€œBut He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I will come out as gold.â€ -Job 23:10
She died in the womb from a knotted cord around her neck as she was thrust into the birth canal by contractions. My third daughter, Samantha, never saw the light of day, but her first sight was the light of heaven. And it was bright!
My wife was taken from this earthly life somewhat later by ovarian cancer, still a â€œyoungâ€ woman of 49. It was a ravaging disease, but she is perfectly healthy now as she celebrates with her Samantha in heaven â€“ a real place of real people and a real God!
I began young adulthood in horrific battle in the jungles of Vietnam, seeing firsthand very violent deaths and the terrible maiming of teenage soldiers immediately next to me, their lifeblood flowing into the jungle dirt. I suffer today with those memories and the bad health impacts of Agent Orange.
My next to youngest daughter was in a near-fatal accident at the age of 15 while riding in a car driven by a young friend of 16. The results of her injuries have remained with her to the present day, 28 years after.
â€œHe knows the way that I take,â€ but it is a blessing that He does not tell us in advance of the turns our pathway encompasses. My road is not unlike many of you who have experienced
great hurdles and griefs in your pilgrimage. Why?
What is life truly about when the road is so fraught with utter danger and pain? God is good? God protects? God takes care of His children? Can you really believe this?
The rest of the verse in Job says, â€œ…when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.â€ God sovereignly lays out the path you take. The whole Bible teaches that He designs all the hurdles and tests you will face in this life. They are not random; they have a divine purpose. But why? Because you and I are born sinners.
If you remain in your fallen state, with no righteousness to show which can and will transform you, you are on a path to destruction. The Bible says all of your own righteousness, all of your personal attempts to do anything good, everything you do to save yourself â€œis as filthy rags.â€ In other words, itâ€™s all worthless.
Your salvation, your sanctification is a process. The heart of it is Christ coming into your person by His Holy Spirit, indwelling you with His righteousness instead of yours. But there are those tests which make you first willing to trust Him initially and those tests afterwards which make you holy, just as He is holy.
It is the only way you can make sense out of the things which befall you. In one sense, you can look at all this and say, â€œThis is crazy,â€ but in the end, you come by faith to realize this is the very truth, just as Jesus claims Himself to be â€œthe way, the truth, and the life.â€
Satan is a constant threat to your right thinking. He is the one who whispers to you that such thinking is absolutely crazy. Your faith is the only way to refute his deceit. Your faith denies Satan and trusts in God. His Word is the way of truth. It never fails!
So, the trials and tests that make you come out as gold are not needless pains and experiences happening to you randomly. They are not harassments, thorns and thistles, to make your life needlessly miserable. They are steps toward infinite healing, toward your healthy wholeness; they are just you coming out like gold! Hallelujah! Your God omnipotent reigns, and you reign with Him!
â€œJust as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.â€
(Third verse of Charlotte Elliottâ€™s hymn, â€œJust as I Am, Without One Plea,â€ 1836)
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