In a large house, there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay. Some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. There is a necessary process for obtaining gold, from which items can be made. First, you need a life-staking adventure and hard work to dig gold. You can only secure the gold after painstaking work, which is both valuable and priceless. And the gold must then go through process of forging. Gold becomes purer and purer the longer it is forged in the fire.
When believers suffer from trials, these are hardships that are happening, not from their own fault, but from God’s discipline. You need to make a great effort to mine gold and refine it in the fire to get pure gold. Trials are the process through which God is making you suitable for doing the Lord’s work.
But people often misunderstand the purpose of tests and hate them. There are some foolish people who think that they are loved by God and who believe that they are suffering according to God’s plan – and all the time, they are suffering because their sins have cursed them. We have to discern whether trials are a test or a curse.
It is natural that you go through suffering and hardships, which are the wages of sin, because you are arrogant and conceited. When you kneel in prayer and try to live according to the will of God, there are still troubles such as the River Jordan and Ai waiting for you because the glory of conquering the Canaan is waiting for you. Suffering and hardships without promise is the wages of sin. But the trials that you meet while being obedient to the word of God with promise is to make you a good worker for God.
The trial that you are put into prison and flogged like the apostle Paul while living for the Gospel and being moved by the Holy Spirit, by the will of God is thanks, glory and crown of heaven and the joy of the Lord. But the sufferings you face because of your unbelief and arrogance is a curse. When you face something bad happening, you ought to look back and check on your life whether or not you have been living according to the will of God. If you commit sins, I want you to repent of the sins and solve the problems that have blocked your way to God.
Pastor Seok-Jeon Yoon
Extracted from Yonsei Newspaper #603