It the cutesy city of Christian cliche's there is an often repeated phrase of "don't pray for patience!" Which is usually followed up with a chuckle, because surely one doesn't mean not to pray for patience...but rather the certainty of trials or waiting periods that will come in order to develop patience within you.
Ain't nobody got time for that!
Dangerous words, indeed.
I've decided that there is another thing that is perhaps even more dangerous to pray for...refinement. "Lord, refine me" has repercussions that are difficult at best, excruciating at worst.
Within the realms of nature, every process of refinement comes with difficulty, pain, pressure, heat, fire, boiling water, steam, and so on and so forth.
You boil water to refine it.
You apply pressure to coal to create a diamond.
You have a complicated flow chart like the one below in order to refine crude oil:
Within the realms of human nature I am learning that the reality of the refinement process isn't much easier than in nature.
It's the hard moments, the "I don't want to do this but I'm going to do this anyways" moments that move us along the process.
It's choosing to allow your feelings to submit to the obedience you are called to. Just because I don't feel like doing this doesn't mean I have permission to not do it.
Man, that is so easy to write.
Not so easy to do.
The ugly reality of refinement is that it is ugly. It brings to the surface all the things you want to keep hidden or suppressed or "surely that isn't so bad" and exposes it to the light of Christ.
Since moving to Haiti I have been so overwhelmed by this refining experience. I have never been more aware of my selfish and sinful nature than living life here.
Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Things aren't refined sipping Limonades on Caribbean beaches.
Things are refined in the hard just-put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other moments.
And the end result of this refining process?
Perseverance, maturity, not lacking anything...
The process is hard, but I have learned that the One who walks with you through the process is worth it. He provides the joy and the purpose and His presence is what allows me to put that foot back out in front.
|Jeremiah caught up in a "refining" moment last week :-)|