For He Himself has said: "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
“If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.” (2 Corinthians 11:30) Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9b)
Here was Paul, the apostle, being grateful for the negative things in his life. It was actually through verses like these that I learned to be thankful, not just in spite of a negative situation but because of it. Somewhere along the line I learned that the negative was actually a good thing because of the valuable lessons I learned during that season.
Here we come to the final part of the potter / clay process. The vessel has spent some time on the shelf drying. It is now dry and ready for use and I’m sure the vessel can’t wait. But there is one final step, and this is the one that may seem the most challenging, the most painful of all … the firing. Just before the vessel can be used it is placed in a kiln to undergo the firing process. The kiln is heated to approximately 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,100 degrees Celsius). As the vessel is exposed to this intense heat, it undergoes changes in its molecular structure to make it useful and watertight. Without this heating, the vessel would dissolve if water is placed in it. It is changed from a soft, easily-marred vessel to something that is hard and durable, able to hold water for years.
How many of us would love to become this useful vessel without the firing process! I’m sure many of us would, especially when we don’t get to choose the fire that we go through!!! Throughout my life, as I said earlier, I have learned to be thankful for “infirmities”, why? Because, I more and more began to see the value in the fire. My fiery trials were just that … fiery! But those same trials developed much needed backbone in me. I was no longer soft and useless, I was more and more becoming a useful vessel. You see, I could not write all these nuggets if it weren’t for fiery trials. Those trials have given me messages to preach, testimonies to share, and songs to write and sing. Yes, I needed those trials and still do. As Paul aptly said: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Here’s the reality, fire is a necessary part of the Christian walk. We would never be the useful vessels God wants us to be if we never faced challenges and distresses. We would never know how to comfort someone unless we too have gone through situations where we needed comfort. We would never have sermons to preach, or songs to sing or testimonies to share. In fact, trials are what qualifies us to be able to minister effectively. Who wants to listen to someone who can’t relate to pain and suffering? We all need people who have gone through and come out successfully, who can encourage us with the reality that if they went through and survived, we too can go through and survive. Yes, there is always a reason for the mess, the trial, the hurt, the pain, the suffering. We like to ask: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” After going through the fiery process of the vessel, I think we can answer that. Think about it, “good” could be the vessel drying on the shelf, but that doesn’t make it useful until the fire comes. “Good” can be the piece of clay after all the impurities have been removed from it, but it is still not a “useful” vessel. “Useful”, on the other hand, many times comes after the fire – that strength of character that is so much needed for effective ministry.
So, the next time the temptation comes to fuss and complain – and believe me, it would be TOTALLY understandable, be encouraged with these words that have at times encouraged me: “I have to go through and make it so that I can encourage someone else going through, that they too can and will make it.”
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.