My wife has been really busy this past week putting together a Christmas play. This means that for the entire week I have been the chef of the house…which also means that our best meal of the week was either fish sticks or cheese pizza night. Most of the time I just find something to put in the microwave.
I’ve discovered that there are two types of TV dinners. One type you stick in for 4-5 minutes then have to turn something, or cut something, or stir something, and then put the thing back in for another 5 minutes. The second type, and my preferred type, is the one that allows you to stick a frozen dinner in the magic box, push a few buttons, wait 8 minutes, and then enjoy your now unfrozen dinner.
It seems to me that some believers—myself included—think that suffering is like the second type of microwave meal. When we are put into the furnace of suffering for a season we assume that we will come through the other end chiseled and no longer in need of suffering. It confuses us when the Master has to toss us around and then put us back into the kiln.
The Lord is very good and every stroke from His hand is for our good. Let us trust in Him no matter how many times He has to put us in the furnace. May we “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame…”
It’s not an accident that “sufferings” is plural. We’ll undoubtedly have to endure many trips in and out of the furnace. Take heart, the Lord is radically dedicated to our good and He cares for us with infinite wisdom. I’d prefer one trip and I’m done. But the Lord would have me to be better cooked than that.