Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In It Together (from A Pleasing Aroma, coming soon from Tate Publishing)

For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. (Psalm 66:10–12)
Lately, life has seemed like more of a rat race than a reason to rejoice. In the midst of all the activity, I have somehow become focused on everything that is wrong rather than on the one who can make all things right. I have forgotten that as difficult and unpleasant as circumstances may be at times, God has ordained every one of my days and has tailored every test and trial to refine me into a vessel of honor, "useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work" (2 Timothy 2:21).

When you read Psalm 66:10–12, what do you see? How often do we blame others for our adversities when Scripture plainly tells us that it is God who has tested us? He is refining us like silver, a process that requires fire and intense heat in order to craft a quality vessel. Do you sometimes feel like your life is a prison and your back is breaking under the heavy burden you carry? We are told God has "brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs." Do you feel like the human race has run you over? These verses tell us that God "let men ride over our heads." We may feel there is no end to the fire and water through which we go every day, but we don't go through them alone. In Isaiah 43:2–3, God declares:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
God is with us in everything we do and every challenge we face. The beauty of these promises from God's Word is not only the blessed assurance that God himself is with us but that when all is said and done he will bring us to a "place of abundance."

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