Ezekiel 22 vs 19/20 We all go through the crucible. For some, this is a purifying moment when the dross is burnt out and they can come out shiny, reflectiing the image of their maker. Others however are the dross, a useless mixture of silver, copper, iron, lead and tin. When they are put in the crucible they come out as worthless slag. Trials leave them melted down, useful for nothing but to receive the fury of God.

Consider how suffering is affecting you? Has it made you turn your face away from God? Did you backslide because trouble knocked incessantly at your door? Have you cursed God because you don't have a job or child or spouse or wealth or good health?

What makes me silver instead of dross? I say the blood of Christ, his redeeming work in me changes what is worthless into something useful for God. His redeeming work has given me a new life and identity that can count for something before God. I plead the blood because on my own, I am worthless slag. But in Christ trials and suffering work a greater work in me, preparing me for works of ministry, sanctifying me.

Suffering without Christ is just that-- suffering. Mashida! Troubled on every side and distressed. Being broken down but not to be built up. Perplexed and in despair. Being struck down and getting destroyed. Getting persecuted and forsaken. But in Christ, trouble attains for us a greater glory. Outward we wear out but inward we are renewed. Death is life.

We lift our eyes therefore from what we see-- our present troubles and look forward to the eternal, the unseen work and reward God is working in us and for us.

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