Responding to God’s Refinement, Part 2
A few weeks ago I had the chance to visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum here in Upper Michigan. Just off Whitefish Point (the location of the museum) lie hundreds of shipwrecks. Many of them were the result of major storms that arose as they traveled the treacherous waters of cold Lake Superior. The most famous of these shipwrecks in that of the Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank just off Whitefish Point in November 1975. As I stood watching this ship navigate the same waters on a very windy day, I thought of how tough it can be navigating through trials that arise in our life from time to time.
In my previous post about trials and God’s refinement of our lives, we mentioned several things, specifically that when trails arise in our life, possibilities also arise. One of those possibilities was to complain about the circumstances in which you find yourself. We mentioned the fact that this is indeed not the right response to trials in our lives. God is at work and He is doing some very special things in our lives when we are in the midst of tough circumstances.
I want to continue with this thought today. What are some other potentially wrong ways to respond when we are in the midst of God’s refinement in our life? I think that sometimes we can become bitter about circumstances. In Job 3, Job curses the day that he was born (3:3) and wishes that he were dead (3:11). Job was no longer complaining about the circumstances befalling him—he was now becoming bitter about all that was taking place. Bitterness has destroyed Christian after Christian causing many of them to turn their back on God and question His goodness. Today, their lives are in shambles all because they believed the lie that God was not good and that God was out to get them. The Bible has much to say about this matter of bitterness. I want you to see two of the verses where God address this matter:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:31 ESV)
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled (Hebrews 12:15 ESV)
Bitterness can spring up so quickly and can defile many people, not just the one to whom the circumstances are happening. What about your life today? Are you right now in the place where you are bitter about the circumstances that God has you in? You need to get that bitterness out of your life today and allow God to have His way rather than continuing to allow it to fester and ruin your life.
Another potentially wrong way we can respond to trials is to listen to man’s corrupted wisdom. It is amazing sometimes how many people can come up with a reason or reasons for what God is doing or why something is taking place. Job faced this exact problem. He had three different friends come to see him when they heard about all that was taking place in his life. Each one of them had a different reason for why all the trouble was happening to Job. Eight different times Job has to hear the wisdom of men as to why these things were happening to him. Eliphaz in chapters 4-5; 15; 22; Bildad in chapters 8; 18; 25; and finally, Zophar in chapters 11 & 20.
There is the temptation many times to listen to the wisdom of men when things go wrong in our lives. There is even the temptation to listen to those who would say that God is not good. There are always going to be those “friends” that will say, “If God was good, He would never allow bad things to happen to such a good person like you!” The corrupted wisdom and words of men can be dangerous and destructive and can keep us from responding rightly to what God is doing in our lives. Make sure today, that your faith is standing firmly in the power of God and not in the wisdom of men, as Paul reminded the Corinthian believers,
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1Corinthians 2:2-5 ESV).
I have no idea of your troubles or trials this day my friend. Regardless of what they are, make sure that you are responding rightly and Biblically, allowing God to do His perfect work in your life. I can assure you that it is for His glory!