Did you ever see a child of God, who has suffered extreme pain and sorrow, continue to exude joy and gladness?
I have a dear pastor-friend Bruce Zimmerman, pastor of Waxahachie Bible Church, who, along with his precious wife Sheila, have, for well over a year, experienced immeasurable physical suffering. Yet when I meet up with him somewhere in the community, he always gives me a warm hug and he bubbles over with joy. Why do you suppose that is?
There are some truths which a believer in Christ eventually grows to understand. And those truths seem to defy human logic - but our God is never restricted to human logic.
In the first epistle of Peter in the New Testament, it is noted that new birth is given to all who place their trust in Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:3) When you have a new birth in Christ, you have everything.
We also find in verses 4 and 5 that we are given an incorruptible inheritance which shall never be taken from us. This relationship with Christ, by virtue of this new birth in Him, shall never be terminated. It’s for eternity - hence “eternal life.” We are “kept” in this new life by the power of God. To teach that someone could lose their eternal standing with God, even though having placed faith in Jesus Christ, is to say that the power of God is not sufficient to save, nor to keep one saved. But God’s power is unfailingly sufficient.
We are also taught in verses 6 and 7 that trials do, in fact, come to those who are believers in Christ. But those trials are only temporary, (for a season) and they are necessary (if need be) to strengthen and temper our faith. (verse 7).
The Christian life is filled with what we call God’s sanctifying work. He is in the process of boiling the impurities out of our lives, in order to make us more like Christ.
Peter uses the goldsmith as an example in verse 7. The goldsmith mines raw gold ore out of the earth places it into a caldron and puts intense heat to it. The purpose is to boil the dross (impurities) from it, in order to make products from it beautiful, durable and valuable. The goldsmith does not put too much fire to it, or else it would be damaged — he does not put to little heat to it, or else it would not be sufficiently purified. But the goldsmith puts exactly the right amount of heat to it.
Another truth about the goldsmith — he will never leave the caldron. He is faithful to accompany the process to ensure the job will be done correctly. Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
What a wonderful picture of God’s sanctifying work in our lives. He will not put you through more than He will give you the grace to bear, thus destroying you. But He will never put too little heat to your life, thus being unsuccessful in your sanctifying process.
The goldsmith takes an instrument and skims the impurities off the top of the melted gold in the cauldron. Eventually, he will look down into the purified, melted gold, and see a perfect mirror image of himself.
And that, my friend, is a picture of God’s sanctifying work. Eventually, perhaps in the sunset of our years, God can look into our lives, in which He has spent some time with us in the cauldron, and see a mirror image of His Son Jesus Christ.
A 19th Century sculptor who was creating a bust of Abraham Lincoln, was asked, “How can you take that piece of raw granite and make a sculpture of Abraham Lincoln?”
His reply was, “That’s easy — I just chisel away all the parts that don’t resemble Abraham Lincoln.”
That is what God is up to when He allows distresses, trials and tribulations in your life. Because of this truth, as he says in 1 Peter 1:6, “Wherein, ye, greatly rejoice. . .” It is an incredible experience by a non-believer to witness one of God’s children rejoicing, even in the face of adversity.