In all honesty, this earthly life hasn't been what I expected it to be. Marriage hasn't been what my mind had perceived. And parenting is not what I thought it to be...And Almighty God hasn't been what I imagined Him to be in my life...No, He is becoming so much more.
More of a neccessity in this life
Just more than I thought I deserved
And each day, He is becoming more of my ONLY HOPE
More because I do not know and cannot understand
He is my ROCK and REFUGE
He provides me Words to Live By
AND most of all lately, as Deuteronomy 4:24 says, "For the Lord my God is a CONSUMING FIRE, a jealous God."
I guess it might be true to say that to many looking in, life for me almost resembles the American dream (a good looking faithful husband, one girl, one boy, a 4-bedroom house, 2 cars, and 2 jobs). But what I am realizing is that Pete and I are not wanting the American dream. We are wanting God's dream for our life and He is a jealous God so if God doesn't have all of me then the fire might just get hotter. If you weren't on the outside looking in, you really wouldn't see the American dream in motion. We have our vast array of problems, fiery trials, and rocky ways that cause much disarray. But don't we all? I'm sure you can list the negative fire in your life right now. I've heard so many different people talk about depression, job loss / unemployment, illness, anxiety, worry, stress from parenting, marriage, financial insecurity...I have been through many on the list, if not still walking through them. Yet, Almighty God is more and I am clinging to Him. He promises: "When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord you God." (Isaiah 43:2b)
My mentor recently painted a picture in my head about being refined, and walking through the fire. She said that the fire is never too hot for God and He never takes His hand off of you.Why? Because God is more. Because God is and can be my consuming fire and I'm relying on Him to consume the human fires that have started and seem to be becoming so ablazed that I'm not sure I will walk out unharmed and unbound. Some of the fires of life, I fear I brought myself into, and some of the fires I know I was thrown into with no fault of my own. As I was thinking about this I had to recall the story of the fiery furnace in Daniel 3 where King Nebuchadnezzar is furious with three God-serving men and he orders the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and throws them in, it goes on to say in verse 24 "Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his adviers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire? The replied, "Certainly, O king." He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here! So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
Isn't that amazing? God doesn't leave us in the fire alone. He has sent His son, Jesus, who never leaves us or forsakes us if we call on Him in a personal way. He withstands the heat for us and provides the healing touch before we even know we were or could have been burned. His divine power has give us everything we need for this life and for godliness.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
But God wants more from me these days than just belief, He is wanting to be the CONSUMING FIRE in my life to burn my desires and refine me as pure gold. This is painful!
In the life of my almost 3 year old daughter, refinement might be like combing her hair. She rarely lets me comb her hair and it is very long and beautiful. As I comb it though, I do use detangler to ease the pain but sometimes it is so knotted and ratted together I have to keep "gently" combing until I get the knots out. She cries and screams in agony, but I just keep combing because I know that soon the pain will be over and her hair will be knot-free, silky and free flowing. Oh it's such a plight analogy yet I know that God does the same with me in my life. He sees the knots in my life and is holding on to me with the detangler spray in His hand just working to refine my life to make it smoother and more beautiful as he created me to be. God's word speaks of this refinement:
Jeremiah 9:7 Therefore this is the the Lord Almighty says: "See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?"
1 Peter 1:6-7 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 then 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.
I am realizing that in order to be God's daughter, the wife that Pete needs, the mommy that Miracle and Matthias need, and the person in all my other relationships that I need to be, I need so much more of God. I can't live with my ideas, my pride, my selfishness, my disappointment and frustration of how life is. So God says he will refine me - he will wash away my impurities so that he can more clearly see His reflection in me and he just might try to ease the pain a lil' by using some detangler spray! After all we were created in His image so I pray that we start to look more like Him.
So Lord God Almighty, I pray that you would refine me. I'll never be ready for the hot hot heat it takes to refine me and scrape off the dross and impurities but I am asking for you to continue your work because you are with me and you can become the greater consuming fire in my life. I'm hopeless without you in the midst of the problems of this life. Please forgive me of my own attempts at life. Will you burn away my desire and refine me so that the faith that you have so graciously filled my heart, soul, and mind with will be genuine and result in praise, glory and honor to Jesus Christ my Savior.
Amen and Amen