God’s purpose for His people is that they be conformed to the image of His Son, so that at the great marriage supper of the Lamb, He may be able to present the church as holy, pure and spotless. (Revelation 19:7-8) While we’re on this earth, God uses different tools of sanctification to accomplish this purpose. And, I, usually say, “Yes, Lord. Take me where You will. I am prepared to follow you anywhere.” Just like in Matthew 26, Jesus tells His disciples: “’You will all fall away because of Me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’” But Peter says, “’Though they all fall away because of You, I will never fall away.’” Peter had no idea the suffering and great tribulation that Christ was about to experience. He just assumed, like we all do, that following Christ wouldn’t be that hard.
However, what if the very path God chooses to take us through is in the midst of fire? What if the narrow way walks right into a storm? Am I prepared for that?
Am I really ready to walk through pain, suffering, rejection, hurt and disappointment for the sake of Christ? Because these are the tools that God most often uses to draw His people to Himself. As Joni Eareckon Tada, a woman who has been a quadriplegic since she was 17, puts it: “Sometimes God allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves.” God loves it when my heart is seeking Him. “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart…” (Psalm 119:2) “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.” (Lamentations 3:25)
J.C. Ryle says, “Trials are intended to make us think, to wean us from the world, to send us to the Bible, to drive us to our knees.”
God uses the fire and storm to drive me to my knees, so that I will seek Him. Countless times, God has taken things from me, only to direct my heart back towards Him. And that is the place where I desire to be.
“One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire[b] in His temple.”