“Must I continue to be tried?” Contributing writer Ami from When Mercy Found Me encourages us to allow the Lord to refine us, even through suffering.
Happy tears. Sad tears. Angry tears. An external processor to the core, it gets embarrassing sometimes.
But I laugh a lot too. So I suppose they balance out. A friend put it this way, “Ami, you just feel a lot on the outside.” Ok, I’ll take that.
Therefore, I should not have been blindsided.
But I was.
A sucker punch straight to the gut, an imaginary referee counted down. These weren’t a few tears at the corners of my eyes, but shuddering waves, a flood impossible to stem.
I’ve been there before.
When I realize a “grief day” is coming, I actively prepare. I have learned to expect grace, to look for tangible manifestations of God’s compassionate care. And He faithfully turns dreaded days into peace, joy, and laughter.
The most difficult days, though, are the ones unexpected.
But the cause is not what you think. The sorrow wasn’t about motherhood and unmet dreams. Instead it had everything to do with a passage of Scripture.
Have you ever been deeply pierced by the Word?
For you, O God, have tried us as silver is tried, You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs, you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.” Psalm 66:10-12
The words leapt from the page, forever connected to a memory blazoned in startling clarity.
Only a week before he died, God and I talked about those words.
I didn’t know death was at my door, but I sensed a season of suffering.
“Ok, we can face the wind and the rain together.”
Peace dispelled the fear that day. God would walk with us through the fire and water. We were precious in His sight. (Isaiah 43) I expected us to come through the fiery trial together. I thought abundance meant a return to the delightful circumstances of my choosing.
But I had to change my definition of abundant.
Abundant is being rescued from the wrath of God by the blood of the Son of God. Abundant is a slave turned radiant bride.
Abundant is not determined by my physical circumstances.
“How wealthy is the place of every believer, and how doubly does he feel it to be so in contrast with his former slavery; what songs shall suffice to set forth our joy and gratitude for such a glorious deliverance and such a bountiful heritage. More awaits us. The depth of our grief bears no proportion to the height of our bliss.” – Charles Spurgeon.
So, confronted anew with Psalm 66, it compelled me once more to wrestle its heavy truth.
“…tried us as silver is tried…”
Must I continued to be tried?
Though my flesh shouts, “No more refining,” my souls whispers, “Yes, Lord. Refine me, and refine me again. For you are worthy of pure worship.
“You have brought us out to a place of abundance.”
Do I still believe this?
Jesus is the abundant place.
Crushed dreams, a broken house. But let the house be rebuilt on the solid rock whose name is Jesus! I hold dreams loosely. God must be the designer of my expectations.
Often times I’ve asked “Isn’t it enough God? Must I be refined further still?”
But I am not called to be “just enough” sanctified. God deserves the most precious, costly silver, the rarest vintage of wine, the most brilliant diamond.
Refine me, and refine me again.
Sobbing turned to praise, as entirety of the Psalm slid into view.
Shout for joy to God!
Sing the glory of His name!
Give to Him glorious praise!
Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds!’
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
All the earth worships you!
And sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.
Come and see what God has done….
Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of His praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living! …
Come and hear all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he has done for my soul! …
But truly God has listened; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God because He has not rejected my prayer or removed His steadfast love from me!” – Psalm 66
I don’t want “just enough” of God. I want all of Him.
And He wants all of me. And I will shout, “Come and see what God has done for my soul!’
He makes me rest in His abundance. He showers me with good things. He remains steadfast in his love. He refines, and His visage radiates ever clearer from my life.
Even the knockout, sucker punch days are beautiful. Even a grief day can be the catalyst for greater depth. And tears for me are a door to illumined truth.
Then make me what you will, Lord.
Refine me, and refine me again.