The naked eye cannot determine the purity of metals. Gold can be assayed in one of three ways: with fire, with aqua regia, and with energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. (How to assay Gold).
My life has been assayed at times, and I felt like the heat from the fire would burn up everything in its path, but without fail, it only burned away what needed to be removed. I’ve stood in a few piles of ashes, I’ve looked around and surveyed the damage and always came to the same conclusion. It was good for me to be afflicted. It helped me grow. It helped remove the dross that was weighing me down.
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. Job 23:10
I pray that this is always the case for me. Before the last major trial I went through, the Lord gave me some scriptures to help me. I can look back now and see that He was clearly preparing me and He did it well. One verse that jumped off the page at me every day for weeks was “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” Luke 22:31. I was able to take great comfort in knowing that Jesus was praying for me. When everyone else turned their back, JESUS, the Friend that sticks closer than a brother was praying for ME! I felt like no matter what the circumstances looked like on the outside, if I stood in faith that Jesus Himself was praying for me I could not possibly lose. I would have to come forth as Gold! I’m not saying it was easy. It was horrible, one of the worst seasons of my life to be honest. I didn’t always get it right, but I can’t even describe the knowledge, wisdom, ability, faith, love, determination, and perseverance that it developed in me. I was naive enough to think I really knew God intimately before all that happened, but I had no idea how much more there was to behold. And to behold Him intimately in adversity is very different from when things are going well. What the enemy meant for harm actually launched me into my destiny. I know not to settle now, I will always hunger to know Him more, drink deeper from the living water, and continue to move from glory to glory. I pray that I never stop doing that!
One thing that I really love about Luke 22:31 is that it says “and when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” In that same chapter it says, “Jesus answered, I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Christ knew that Peter wasn’t going to do everything right. He knew he would deny Him, but He prayed for him that his faith would not fail. When we make a mistake, or we totally blow it big time, it doesn’t mean that our faith has failed and we become unusable. I’m so thankful for that! I’m so thankful for the blood of Jesus that covers my sins so that I can repent and be restored…then “when I’ve turned back I can strengthen my brothers.” Christ was confident that prayer works, and because He prayed for Peter not to fail He believed that Peter would turn back and be able to minister to his brothers. God’s grace is sufficient. We strive to serve God with excellence of character and make right choices based on the Word of God and our love for Him. But when we get it wrong, we must not let the enemy come in and condemn us. Remember Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” If we have sin in our lives that is hindering our walk with God, we need to repent. We need to be assayed by the loving hand of our Heavenly Father so that we can be pure. We are called to be holy as He is holy.
Another thing that I really love about Luke 22:31 is that it says “Satan has asked.” Even in our fallen world that we have opened up to sin, he can’t do anything unless it passes through the Father’s hands. My Heavenly Father who has my best interest at heart will only allow something that Satan intends for my harm, when He has a purpose for it. God’s ways are higher than our ways. We will never understand everything He does, but we understand enough to be confident that He is Sovereign and has a good plan for us. I was able to say during that difficult season, “God, I don’t know what You are doing, but I trust that You will work it out for my good, and even if I don’t like it – I still choose You.”
I challenge you to ask the Lord to search your heart and see if there is anything that needs to be assayed today. He will show you just as He has shown me. He is faithful!