Do you see what I've done?Okay. This is not the outcome we wanted, although some suspected it would be this way. We're seeing the beginning of the end (we think), and it's not a good thing.
I've refined you, but not without fire.
I've tested you like silver in the furnace of affliction.
But is it really the beginning of the end? Or is it just the next step, just another phase, in our national existence?
Circumstances change, and situations evolve. It's very human to seek constancy and stability. But the fact is that the only constant is change. Things change all the time. Weather patterns, jobs, relationships, politics, economy ... you name it, it changes over time. We try to hang on to the things that we like, things that are good, and the harder we try, the faster they slip through our fingers.
We get attached to the way things are, and become distressed when that changes. Sometimes, the pace of change is literally wrenching and painful. Circumstances can evolve so rapidly that it makes our heads spin. People come and go from our lives, patterns of events change, jobs disappear; it's all normal, but it can be heartbreaking.
People will, at times in their lives, find themselves stretched, tried, and tested as never before. Many break and run away. It's not uncommon, and it's a very human thing to do. We cry out to God for release, for help, for rescue ... never realizing that it's the process of testing that God has allowed for the very purpose of showing us who we are, inside.
It's no exaggeration to state that the days ahead of us will be trying, to say the least. It's quite possible that this will be one of those times of which I speak. But why does God allow these things to happen? Has He abandoned us ... turned His back on the USA? Not at all; He will never abandon His children - and there are multiple millions of us in this country.
I believe it's because there's something to be proved... something He wants us to see or learn. No, He's not trying to find out what's inside you - He already knows. Over time, and after many such trials, I've come to realize that He allows these changes to show us what's inside ourselves.
You want to find out who someone really is? Wait until they're under a great deal of pressure, and you'll see for yourself.
It's like a grape: you don't know what's inside until you squeeze it; pressure reveals the truth of the inner person. When silver is refined, the dross rises to the top ... and the refiner removes it, thereby purifying the remaining material.
The same thing happens with us. After many fiery trials, the refined person who remains is made more free: free to recognize who or what is truly important, and able to concentrate wonderfully on that which remains.
Someone once said it's a lot more fun having a testimony than getting one. Amen to that! But the process, however painful, is ultimately good for us. We will have learned more about who God is.
Likewise, we'll have found out who we are, and what we are capable of. In the days ahead, that's going to be very, very important. Lord, help us learn quickly, and show us what we're to do.