A Faith Refined by Fire

To be completely honest, this message hasn’t come completely with ease to paper. It’s been a hard month, full of fatigue and not much else. But I believe it’s important in these seasons to keep sharing, to keep testifying and writing because if this is a space for honest devotion to God then this is it. The Christian walk is not always easy, and, as I have discovered more recently and as you will hopefully be encouraged by the end of your reading – it is completely and utterly worth it. For your joy will be made complete in the ending.

Last November there was a prophecy. Yup, you heard me, I stood up in front of a room full of people, while a guy with a thick Welsh accent, lead by the Holy Spirit spoke words of wisdom and truth over me for the following year. They were good words. I was positive, full of vision and excitement about the year ahead. It was finally happening! A fulfilment of the promises and dreams I had collected and grown for the past few years. It was really happening, and I couldn’t have been more full of hope.

And then we fast-forward to now: May, 2017. And it’s been a hard year. Classic life. Just when you think you’ve got it all sorted and everything is in place and perfect and ready to just “be”, life swings a curve ball you weren’t expecting. There’s no “3 strikes and you’re out,” You’re just out. Earlier on in the year, when I was still quite hopeful about the year ahead things started happening, quicker and quicker until the rug was swept out from under me and I was left in a blubbering mess – but we’ll get to that.

From January, I started a new job, moved out into a new share house with a great housemate who left me notes and baked me cookies. Then my best friends got married and moved away. My closest friends at church moved to another church family. My family moved (almost) to the country. My favourite housemate, the one who baked me cookies moved to another city. Each time it happened I cried. A bit of me died when they left – not because I was angry at any one of them for living their life, I cried because it wasn’t me doing the “living” and I was extremely lonely. I uttered words in frustration; This was not what the prophecy said it would be like; This is not what the year was supposed to be – I moved to be closer to friends and family, not to be further away!

In amongst all of this I heard the Father ask me, “Katie am I enough?”

Yeah – duh. Obviously Father. That’s what the Bible says and I believe the Bible. That’s what I learnt at Sunday School.

Am I enough when you have plenty? Am I enough when you have nothing? When you are naked and hungry and in desire for that which you do not have? Do you come to me willingly every day because I am enough?

When all your friends start to see fruit for their labour, when you have none? When your friends deliver healthy babes and you remain barren? Am I enough even when the promise is not fulfilled yet?

These were big questions and with each new loss I was confronted with them again and again. It’s one thing to say, for example that of course I won’t be happier when I have that boyfriend, or I have that ministry – and a completely other thing to walk through it.

Now the crying bit. The other night I woke up in the middle of the night and burst into tears and I didn’t stop crying all day. And I mean all day. Like, the tears were starting to cause a rash from their salty burn, all day. But in the words from the mouths of the HilltopHoods “the healing heart knows the eyes must overflow” and so, I wept. I never blamed God for my mourning, or my sadness. I felt His love so strongly and confidently throughout it. But loneliness is something else that eats away at a soul because we were never created to be alone.

Hebrew 10, 11 and 12 talks about Faith in such a matter and a call to persevere in it. It lists off some heroes who held onto faith through hard times and suffering in order that the Lord may be glorified. A few verses from those chapters to encourage us:

“Let us draw near to Gods with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings… Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.”

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what He has promised.”

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see… {list of heroes who showed faith; see Hebrew 11:3-32}, who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength, and became powerful in battle… they were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

And finally, chapter 12;

“Endure hardship as discipline, for God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Faith refined by fire looks like burning away all that tangles and suffocates, in order to depend completely and wholeheartedly on the one who formed you. It hurts, it’s lonely and it’s painful. But like all the heroes of Hebrews – they understood that it was never about them alone, but the joy of Kingdom Come, the heavenly treasures waiting them. And the best bit? There was always huge blessing that came out of laying it all down and trusting in God alone, and persevering through it. Letting him work and mould your heart and soul, until the day that we return home. That’s why Jesus says the Narrow way is the right way, but not everyone finds it (Matt 7:13-14). Why Peter talks about hearts turning into something with greater worth than gold through fire like suffering (1 Peter 1:6-7). And why Paul constantly boasts in his sufferings saying, “for when I am weak, then I am strong. “(2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

I’m still learning to say “God is enough” and I still believe that the prophesy and promises will be fulfilled this year, but because it’s always darkest before the dawn, but you know that dawn will always come, I will hold on to hope. That’s why Christian animation always has Hope as the anchor. Because no matter what storm you face, your ship is always secure.

Testifying with joy through the hardships as well as the good, forever and ever this little light shines,

K. xo


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