The lion’s den, the crucible, the cold tomb: each offers a second calling. It may come in nudges or whispers, crises or shouts; regardless, these subsequent callings probe us both further into and out of ourselves. In each direction, they bring us closer to God. And, I have found, they make the Bible even more alive. The Word of God becomes increasingly relevant in its reverence. We know this refinement, too, to be true, for “the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times” (Ps. 12:6).
Some crucibles work by heat, others by cold. Some by flame, others by water. We are compressed by too much, or we are cut loose by too little. We burn under pressure or freeze in isolation. Regardless of inner or outer weather, the effect is the same: the extremes in experiences gauge the extremes in our spiritual temperatures. Often the differences in extreme shake us out of the “in” of indifference. We are forced “out,” we are forced through and beyond, we are thrust into the realm of the absolute other – from the personal and particular of self into the infinite and all of God.
Why? Jesus does not want us to be mediocre, to be lukewarm. Indifference is literally revolting to him…We are burned and frozen so that we may find him in our midst.
“For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver…We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance” (Ps 66:10-12)
Question for Reflection
- Do you recognize that the trials you face are designed to sanctify and bring you closer to God?
Carolyn Weber, Holy is the Day, 63-64.