“This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’”
Pressure can be tough sometimes. Let’s face it; we live in a world full of tests and distractions. There are all kinds of situations and scenarios vying for our attention. Some distractions have a greater hold on our lives than others. Not all distractions are unnecessary, but they all help to define us for good or bad. There are rarely situations that serve no purpose at all. They bring us from who we are to who we will become. Whenever we are under pressure it is usually not pleasant for the moment, and depending on our reactions to the stimuli, the results are unexpected.
I’m sure that you have heard the reference before but it is worth mentioning.
Have you ever thought about how Diamonds have gotten to be? When the process begins diamonds are not diamonds. Instead, diamonds are just specs of carbon. Not much to look at really, they are dust. Why don’t you try proposing to your girlfriend with carbon dust and see if you get the same result? You can tell her it will only take about a million years or so before it will look like a diamond. You could probably make your case stronger if you say that your love will last longer than it takes for the dust to turn into a diamond. Worth a shot; if the proposal works then let me know.
The thing is that dust by itself will never turn into a diamond. It is only after the carbon atoms fuse together after years of intense heat and pressure about 100 miles below the Earth’s surface. The dust does not look like much, but out of it comes something beautiful.
Your life is the same way.
If you feel like you are under some kind of intense pressure that you feel like you can’t get out from under you are not alone, and trust me it is only for a season. Think about due dates. You are at work and your boss gives you a project on Monday; expects a pitch by the end of the day; design by Wednesday; and a working prototype by Friday. Depending on the project this sounds like a pretty tall order, but you can do it.
When you get put through the fire you come out refined. Let’s call this process testing. Think about the slogan by Kix Cereal, “Kid tested, Mother approved.” It’s a funny slogan, but the concept that it portrays is true. You give a project, or a cereal, a battery of tests to find holes or flaws so you can make the product better. However, even with the holes Cheerios are still good cereal…I digress. If you don’t give the project the right tests you might end up with a recall on your hand and no one wants to be caught with a lemon. When you go through testing much like gold goes through the fire it comes out refined meaning all the impurities are removed making it a more precious metal.
Let’s go back to the boardroom analogy. Your boss just gave you a project. You have never been the project leader before, but now you are. Every other time you’ve had someone to guide you through the process every step of the way. Your previous experiences were formed in you to prepare you for the big test of being the team leader and now you are “ready”, or so your boss has informed you. By the time you have made it to the next Monday: one, you are super excited that Friday has come and gone; and two, you have made it through a great deal of pressure which has formed a masterpiece. Sure you might have made a couple of mistakes, didn’t arrive on time, started late, cut someone off when they were speaking, or let someone else give more opinion than they should have, but you still made a finished project. The best part about going through the test at work is the next time that you need to do the very same thing it will go more smoothly each time until the process comes to perfection.
My encouragement for you is to not get discouraged when it feels like the world is crashing around you. Remember the words of James 1:2-3, “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.” Simply put, if you stand still, do what you know, and remain teachable you will see God work.
Peace, Love, and Christ because you know HE died for you.