A while ago, my family and I had the opportunity of having the Lord seemingly remove just about everything from us for about two-and-a-half years - friendships, finances, ministry. Sometimes it felt as if even His presence had left us. What were we going to do with that? We'd be the first to say that we spent a lot of the time simply surviving. If I could go back, that would be something I would like to have changed.
What impression did we make on those around us? It's hard to say because hardly anyone seemed to really want to talk about it. It probably didn't make any sense to most, and those that decided they "knew" what God was doing with us walked away. I don't think the world found our circumstances so strange, but the church did. (Isn't that interesting?)
Being relieved of most everything you're used to gives you the opportunity to ask yourself some valid questions. What is my picture of God, and is it accurate? What is suffering and how does God use it with those who are His? The point I'm coming to is that we, as a body of believers, need to have an accurate picture of God and an accurate view on His working in our lives, especially if we're going to share them with others. Being "blessed" continually is not an indicator that all is well, just as suffering is not necessarily an indicator that you're out of God's will.
The life of the believer here on earth is a totally submissive crucified life. God knows what it will take to accomplish that in each of us. Do we blow it along the way? Yes. God has taken that into account in His dealings with us. Keep going. God is in the business of putting an accurate picture of Himself in your life, not only for your sake, but for the sake of others. And isn't that an answer to your prayers?
"Lord, please don't take me out of the refiner's fire until Your goals are accomplished." That's hard to pray, but so rewarding!
Let’s talk more!