Walking Through the Fire

Charles Swindoll wrote:

“Walking with God is the most exciting and rewarding of all experiences here on earth.  I should add, it is also the most difficult.  I don’t think I’ve ever met an exception to the rule, that those who walk closest to God are those who, like Jesus, become aquainted with trials and testings.  God takes us through struggles and difficulties so that we might become increasingly more committed to Him.”

Oswald Chambers said in My Utmost for His Highest that if a Christian never receives a “hard word” from Christ, or allowed by Him, then he doubted that Christian really knows God at all.  The facts are, as we draw closer to God, the more the Enemy tries to draw us away. 

“Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing.” ~1 Pet.4:12

The “fiery ordeal” correctly describes the past three weeks for me.  It seems that as soon as I graduated every possible thing that could go wrong did — mostly in the area of relationships.  Family issues, unresolved long ago, rose up at my graduation; friendships changed; accusations were hurled; rumors were spread.  It seemed to me that my world, so beautiful and well planned, the world I was entering out of high school, was falling about my ears.  I was surprised.

Peter said we shouldn’t be surprised when trials confront us.  At the time of my graduation I had been very close to God — He was my “very present help”, and I truly felt that we were on a journey together.  I was so excited.  My graduation day related that excitement.  But the Enemy knows when to attack.  It took only a few days for my bright dreams to be the last thing on my mind as I tried to resolve conflicts, settle disagreements, quell rumors and keep what relationships I had in good shape.  But I was so busy that God took the back seat.  Or rather, I shoved Him back and told Him to buckle up, because we were going for a wild ride.

My time with God quickly passed away because I was gone so early in the morning to work.  At most I got in a little at night, but even then my mind was full of what I had to do and take care of.  Without my time with Him my attitude and actions quickly became irritable and resentful. I had no reservoir of love to draw on, because I did not seek the One who owns it.  The fire of my ordeal, rather than testing me and showing me as gold, began to consume me.  Instead of letting God lead me on through the flame, I tried to fight it myself, and ended up burned and weakened.  Looking back, I quickly saw that when I stopped spending time with the Lord, that is when the Enemy had his greatest opportunity.

In order for us to endure the “fiery ordeals” of life, we must, and I repeat — MUST — be constantly connected with God.  I have to get up at 5:30 to do it.  But I have found that if I do not give Him first priority that others will rise up to take His place.  Beth Moore once said, in her Bible study “Believing God”, that we must live each minute of each hour of each day on the “CPR” of God’s Word.  We must turn to the verses we know and lean on the memory of His promises to be successful in our walk with Him —  even in our walks through the fire.

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees… let us be grateful in receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”  ~  Heb. 12:12, 28-29