Ever so often, when the Lord is leading us through hard places, we have a desire to skip the crucible entirely.
To leap headlong into the end zone, where we can talk about our tests and trials in retrospect.
That magical place where every testimony is a glowing, rose-tinted, perspective-filled discourse that bids a final farewell to history gone awry.
It would appear that most things are tolerable in hindsight.
But foresight is priceless.
Our Saviour “… for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) In Him, we have the privilege of seeing the bigger picture. Our hard places become heavenly places, as we walk hand in hand with One who has walked a path far more difficult than the one before us.
Never will he thrust us out ahead of him to tough it out alone. He sticks closer than any earthly sibling and leads gently from the front – one day at a time. With his hand guiding the crucible and monitoring the flame, we can trust that the result will be jewel-like characters that reflect His perfectly.
God’s people are referred to in Revelation 12 as overcoming the evil one by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.
Did you catch that?
Their testimony played a role in their overcoming, which means that the testimony existed before they could even talk about their trials in the past tense!
These saints were not those who waited to see deliverance before bearing witness to God’s unparalleled Faithfulness. They belonged to the ‘but-if-not‘ crowd. Confident as they were in Almighty God, “they loved not their lives unto the death.”
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
It is our privilege to have that type of unbridled confidence in the Almighty, and it is our experiences with Him in hard places that will strengthen our faith and embed in us the virtues we so desperately need.
Skipping the crucible is not an option.
As we follow hard behind the Saviour, in the time that remains, may we avail ourselves of the quiet streams of Living Water that flow alongside the hard path to refresh, sustain and strengthen every seeking traveller.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me…”
Our God is Faithful.
Image credit: Ruthlyn M.