Refined by fire
Yesterday Marion and I took some time to visit old friends.
It’s been over twenty years since we first got to know Brian and Lynn. Their life was not easy then, and it’s still not easy. They have been through more troubles than most people, and they are still dealing with numerous challenges. But through it all, they have grown stronger, their faith is better established, they have grown in understanding of God’s ways, they are governed by the peace and joy that come from the Holy Spirit. In the midst of ongoing tests in health, finances and family relationships, their lives manifest the goodness of God. I am full of confidence that they will come forth as pure gold on the day of the Lord, and that they will be among those who shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father (Matthew 13:43).
As I was reflecting on this visit, I was reminded of these words of the Apostle Peter, written long ago to Christians suffering persecution.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade —kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV84
I am so thankful for those whose lives remind me of the faithfulness and goodness of God.