We all have had a day that didn’t go our way. We slipped on ice. We burned our forehead on a curling iron. We spilled coffee on our favorite shirt. We said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Unfortunately, we’ve also faced the feeling that life wasn’t going our way. We picked up a detrimental phone call, we cried in the hospital lobby, or we wrecked a relationship that we once cherished.
We know what it’s like to struggle which is why it’s pivotal to study the book of First Peter. This letter was written to the scattered Christians living under the ruthless rule of Nero, the Roman emperor. During his tyrannical occupation, fire broke out and destroyed most of Rome. The flames destroyed almost everything, except the dictator’s estates. Nero didn’t want to be held accountable, so he framed the fire on a scapegoat. He told the people of Rome that Christians set the fire. This lie led to mass persecution of Christians, both personally and politically. They were burned alive, fed to wild animals as entertainment, and crucified like Christ.
Peter penned this letter to provide comfort to suffering Christians. Understanding the severity of their suffering, their pastor wrote, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith— of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1:6-7). Using the very intentional symbolism of fire refining precious metal, Peter suggests that your problems refine you. The process of refinement is interesting. Using extremely high heat, a goldsmith burns the bad stuff out of gold. The precious metal bubbles and melts as he skims the impurities off the top. He will continue this tedious process until he can see his own reflection in the gold.
Do you ever feel like you’re melting from the heat of life? Whether you’re facing the fire of grief, heartbreak, or hardships, your pain will always reveal your imperfections. Anger, pride, addiction, and selfishness may bubble to the surface of your heart. When you process pain with God, like a good goldsmith, God’s grace will remove the impurities. He will refine you until He can see His reflection within you. Just like fire does for gold, your problems will purify you. They’ll help you grow more dependent on God. They’ll prepare you for the future God has for you.
If you are feeling the heat of life, let God use it to refine you. The fire you’re facing may be a blessing instead of a burden. Take the advice of Peter and rejoice because God is refining you.