Posted by: bellissimanh | September 27, 2009

Beauty for Ashes

Are you ever just blown away by the power of the Word? By blown away I don’t mean this:  intrigued by fulfilled prophecies, or captivated by beautiful poetry, or even enamored with deep study (if you’re an “I heart my lexicon” girl like me). All of those things are right and good, but what I’m talking about at the moment is being completely and utterly overwhelmed by the power of the Word of God to address your specific situation at just the right time, in just the right way, with just the right amount of force. It is ALIVE. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that it is “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart“, and there are times when it just speaks so specifically to my circumstances that I am in awe of how dynamic and living it is. It’s one thing to read that verse from Hebrews, and another entirely to open the book to find it offering exactly what you needed to hear, whether conviction, encouragement, or hope.

I experienced one of those moments tonight. In working through my homework for Beth Moore’s “A Woman’s Heart, God’s Dwelling Place” study on the tabernacle, the Lord brought me to this passage:

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

I am walking through a trial right now. The specifics aren’t important. We each have our own trials, don’t we? They are as different in scope as they are in nature and can range in intensity from things we would consider irritations to other things that are of such a magnitude we are crushed under the weight of them. What’s more, one person’s “irritation” could be the thing that lays someone else out on the floor.

The Lord is showing me that each step taken in the midst of a trial is a step of faith. It takes faith to keep walking when you’re so defeated you can barely lift your head. It takes faith to step forward in obedience when what the Lord is requiring of you is difficult. It takes faith to consider the future when you’re not sure how you’ll make it through today. It takes faith to trust that although people may fail you time and time again, the One who created you will not. 

Trials are not static. When the Lord walks you through something, the process is fluid. One day can be great, and you might feel as though you’re you’re finally experiencing victory, and then the next day something will happen (or the enemy will put thoughts in your head to discourage you) and you suddenly find yourself back in a fetal position, wondering where to go from here. Good days and bad days. It’s a consequence of living in this fallen world.

Today was a mixed bag for me. Some moments were beautiful (I got to worship in the house of the Lord!), and others were rough. After dinner, I sat down with my study and asked the Lord to minister to me through His Word. Did He EVER.

He reassured me that not only is He with me in this process, He is revealing the genuineness of my faith. As men use fire to refine precious metals, the Lord is using this thing that He has allowed into my life to distinguish my genuine faith from superficial profession. He’s not testing it so HE can see what’s there (He already knows), but He’s doing it so I’LL know.

This morning I was having a conversation with one of my dearest friends, and she expressed sentiments very similar to this. She is aware of my struggles and wanted to let me know that she feels privileged to get to see the real me… that because she knows me so well, she knows what my faith is really made of, and how genuine and strong it is (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s what I got through my tears out of what she said).

Then I came home and the Father reminded me through the verses above that my faith is much more precious than gold, and not only that, but that it is to the praise, honor and glory of the One who has redeemed me. How I want to bring Him that! I so want my life — my faith — to be something that brings Him all those things!

And if that weren’t enough, He then brought me this encouragement, again from 1 Peter:

“Therefore, let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” (1 Peter 4:19)

There is nothing that happens to me that hasn’t passed through His hands first… nothing that He hasn’t allowed. He is completely sovereign over my life. Because of that truth, I have to believe that He has a purpose in walking me through this thing. I am suffering according to the will of God, and there is glory at stake here. Tonight, I am committing myself to Him, and I choose to follow His directive to continue in “doing good”. I surrender.

Even if it means setting my own desires aside to accomplish His.

Even if it means redefining “normal”.

Even if it means forgiving when it’s difficult.

Even if it means experiencing a fiery trial.

He will bring beauty from the ashes. He promised… and His Word is SO good.

Let me finish with an excerpt from my study tonight. In regards to 1 Peter 4:19:

You are looking at a classic freewill offering. No one can make you surrender your sufferings to God. Only you can decide how your fires will affect you. Will you be sanctified or scarred? Listen as He says to you, “My precious child, I bore My scars so that you would not have to!” He has suffered enough for both of you.

(A Woman’s Heart, God’s Dwelling Place – Beth Moore)

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Responses

  1. that is a beautiful post, beautiful because it is honest and real and relevant and because it expressses God’s heart and makes me want to draw near to Him! i am so glad that all things are in his hand and that even in the hard times we can trust him to work beauty and growth! blessings, claire

  2. Do you not just absolutely LOVE that study!! It is one of my all-time favs. I learned so much about Christ.

    Your faith, Heather, is being refined and purified and it is a privilege to watch it, even from a bloggy distance. You are an inspiration to me and I so enjoy your writing. It speaks to my heart in a way that few do. Thanks for your willingness to be transparent and usable in His kingdom.

    Leah

  3. Heather, I am speechless because God pointed me to that very same verse this week amidst a couple of trials that knocked me to my knees.

    “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

    I remember being in awe of his ability to address my situation with a single verse and offer me hope. And how cool that the same verse can address and offer hope to you as well in the midst of your own struggle. Our God is SO COOL!!

  4. […] (and the good of my little girl) and His glory, and that somehow – some WAY – He would bring beauty from those ashes… both the literal and figural […]


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