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God’s Refinement Process

On a recent trip, I was able to see some of Michelangelo’s work. Leading up to it, they had one of his quotes up on the wall. It said, “I saw the angel in the marble, and I carved until I set him free.” It reminded me of another quote I had read by another sculptor named Rodin. He said, “I choose a block of marble and chop off what I don’t need.” These artists start off by seeing something hidden deep inside the rock. They then start knocking off big chunks. As it gets closer to what they’re trying to create, the take off smaller and smaller pieces. Then they sand it down to get it just right.

It reminds me of God’s refinement process. He is an artist as well looking to set free our potential and purpose. The Bible refers to Him as a potter with us as the clay. I once watched a potter work. He put the lump of clay in the center of his wheel. He molded it and shaped it beautifully. He then began to take out the middle so that it could be a vessel. Finally, he added in designs to this incredible piece. After he was done, he held it up to applause from the crowd. He then looked at us and crumbled the clay back into a ball. He said, “Until this goes through fire, it will never fulfill its purpose.”

1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner” (MSG). God’s refinement process includes removing big chunks from our lives, sanding, shaping and other detailed work. However, it also includes going through fiery trials. If you’re in a season of fire or feel like chunks of your life are falling away, remember that God is at work in you setting free your potential and purpose. You must goes through God’s refinement process to receive the promises of God.

Photo by Roberto Sorin on Unsplash

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Be Patient And Wait

One of the hardest things for me to do is to be patient while God is at work on my behalf. I live by the motto, “Work like it depends on you. Pray like it depends on God.” But there are seasons, like the one I’m in now, where God is at work and He says, “Be still and be patient.” Everything in me wants to jump up and do something as if God needs my help. There’s a line in “Way Maker” that resonates with me right now. It says, “Even when I don’t see it, you’re working. Even when I don’t feel it, you’re working. You never stop working.” Faith is truly about trusting that God is at work when you don’t see it or feel it. It’s about being patient in the waiting knowing that God is going to bless you according to a His goodness and not your good works.

I don’t think Abraham was much different. God was at work, but he couldn’t see it. God had promised him a son when he was 75. Ten years later, there still wasn’t a son and he was getting older. He decided to help God out and married Hagar, his wife’s handmaiden. But when she got pregnant, God let him know that wasn’t what He promised. Sarah would give him a son, but Abraham had to wait another 15 years. That’s a long time to be patient and to trust God to fulfill a promise, especially when your physical condition, or things around you, are telling you the possibility is going down daily. Yet God still requires us to have faith and to be patient.

Psalm 37:7 says, “Be patient and wait for the Lord to act” (GNT). I understand that having patience and waiting on God is tough. It can feel like you’re missing the boat and that you need to do something to make it happen. Learn from Abraham though. If God has promised it, trust Him to fulfill it in His timing, not yours. Even when you see the window of opportunity closing, trust anyway. God does not need our help. He is able. If He can speak the universe into existence, surely He can say the word and turn your impossible situation around. If He can give Abraham a son at 100 years old, He can make a way where there seems to be no way. It’s in the waiting that our faith is stretched and we are prepared for greater things. Don’t give up too early or try to jump in and help. Be patient and wait on the Lord.

Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash

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