The trials of our faith are like God’s ironing. When the heat of trials is applied to our lives the wrinkles of spiritual immaturity begin to be smoothed out. It is always good to attend church or Bible study and sit and soak up the truth of God’s word like a sponge. But we must realize that sponges work best when it is squeezed. Paul’s statement in Romans 8:28 that “All things work together for good” sounds like the ingredients for a cake after they have mixed together. Some of the ingredients used to make a cake taste good by themselves. Other ingredients such as alum, baking powder or flour are not very palatable. Nevertheless, they are essential and must be mixed with the good tasting ingredients to produce a delicious final product. God can be trusted to take even the bitter experiences of life and blend them together and make them work together for good. Our Lord knows how to mix them to produce the desired result.

Some flowers such as the rose must be crushed if their full fragrance is to be released. Some fruits such as the sycamore must be bruised if they are to attain ripeness and sweetness. Some metals such as gold must be heated in the furnace if they are to become pure. The attaining of godliness in your family life- the process of becoming mature Christians requires similar special handling. It is often through pain, suffering, trouble, trials, adversity and even temptation that you develop spiritual discipline and become refined and enriched.

When a wood sculptor wants to create a work of art, he starts with a log and begins to fashion it with a sharp chisel. He meticulously cuts and shapes that log until finally he has his finished product. The log which might otherwise have been burned in a fireplace has become a beautiful masterpiece that can be displayed on the mantel over the fireplace. God’s working in our lives may sometimes be painful, yet his ultimate purpose for us is to produce a masterpiece.

A man was shopping in a grocery store, his young son followed closely behind carrying a large basket. The father loaded the basket with one thing after another until another customer began to feel sorry for the boy. She said, “That is a pretty heavy load for a young fellow like you. Isn’t it?” The boy turned to the woman and said, “Oh don’t worry, my dad knows how much I can carry”. In the same way God knows your limitations and gives you no burden beyond what you can carry.

A vine clings to an oak tree and in so doing finds the protection in times of trial that preserves it. If a violent storm should arise and the vine is twined on the side of the tree guarding it away from the wind, the tree serves to protect the vine from the winds which would otherwise tear it away and uproot it into shreds. If the vine is on the exposed side of the tree, the wind serves only to press the vine closer to the tree it already clings to. In the storms of your life, God will at times set himself between us and the fury of the storm and so protect us from it. At other times, he will expose us to the storm so that its ravages may serve to press us closer to Him.

Someone has said, “A brook would lose its song if God removed the rocks”. The richest chords require some black keys. Do trials make you soar above, or just plain sore?