And then there are deeper trials that come as we pass into the hands of God, as we pass from the physical and intellectual into the spiritual. When they first come, we shrink back from their unnatural and fearful breath. We say, “Oh, this cannot be from the hand of a loving Father! This cannot be necessary to me.”And then come the pains and sufferings from God’s own hand, when He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver, when He lets it burn until it seems that we must be burned to ashes.But we can only obtain the victory through faith. The moment we cease to fear the fire, that moment it ceases to harm us. He says, Neither shall the flame kindle upon thee (Isaiah 43:2).He shall baptize you . . . with fire -Matthew 3:11. (Simpson Devotional)
Have you ever felt internal pain? Pain so deep that you can’t internalise(pun intended) it? The kind that starts from places so deep in your heart that you even wonder if your system can take it anymore? Well, for the first time in my life I experienced that kind of pain.
Its so intense that you can’t even pin it on the devil. I mean, if he caused you so much anguish he knows you will run straight to God, and he doesn’t want that, does he? At first I thought it was just one of those days. You know, someone says something, it triggers off painful memories which haven’t healed yet. And that destabilizes you for a while. But a day or two later, my whole system was in a disarray. I ran back to shelters I had abandoned years ago when God became my shelter. Nothing was working. I could feel myself falling back into the pit. I asked for help from friends. I wrote several articles here on what I thought was the problem. Nothing was working.
I started growing numb to everything. Just to explain, that’s like when a person has been ill but was walking and talking. He was given help but nothing helped. For me growing numb is same as being taken to the ICU. And in this case, things like depression are not so far away once repressed emotions and such like visitors start knocking. I was damn scared. It took me years to make some progress, tears upon tears on God’s laps for me to finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. I couldn’t understand what the hell was happening. Needless to say, I stopped talking to God. That always happens when my heart builds walls around itself as a self preservation measure.
Until I went for a half day of prayer in my church. I sincerely didn’t feel like going but something pushed me to it. And what I discovered made me breathless. Like this is the part where God talks of doing things so amazing that no one has ever thought of.
I had just been through one of God’s refinery. This wasn’t my past playing with me, or the devil. All that damn pain was through God’s hand. And He had done it intentionally to teach me something that admittedly I would only have learnt through a miracle. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. That the most painful pain I had ever been through was through God’s hand. Up to now, a week later, I’m still not over the whole thing.
To give you some background, in those worship sessions I go to, we always pray for a lot of things. That we will surrender all to God. That He will use us for His own purpose and glory. That He will forgive us and transform us to be more Christ-like. That we will be more obedient to His word. And that by the end of the day His will happens, not ours. And I always mean all those things, sincerely. I even added my own prayer mantra, that God will work in me in spite of me. Like I know how stubborn I can be when I don’t agree with somebody, so I decided to let Him know that He has my permission to do with me what He feels is best even when I don’t agree with Him. When i am saying those statements in union with my fellow worshippers its always all peace and calm. Wait till the real deal comes.
I sincerely don’t have any moral of this story. All I want to tell my fellow believers, is that when God takes you through His refinery, my friend don’t expect angels singing bazokizo. Expect fire. More fire. Some burning will take place, and I suspect you will be the character burning. And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, you will be turned sides, God doesn’t do sloppy works. It will hurt. More than anything you have ever felt in this world. And you being human, you will try to run away while still ablaze. Maybe to human beings, maybe to addictions. You know how when you are stressed and you take your poison (might be food/binge eating/cravings, running or addictions) and they work for a while? This time round, none of those things will work out, not even for a second. They will instead act as a fuel and oxygen to the fire God started. Until you can’t run anymore and unlike those other times God soothed and wooed you to run back to Him, this time you will run back to Him voluntarily. And that’s the thing with God’s fire. Only He can start it, only He can stop it.
After two intensely painful weeks, I was back to the creator. Not to beg Him to help me, I was so tired, so hurt, in so much pain, that with tears streaming down my face, I asked Him to call me home. The earth is clearly not my home. I had never been in this place before. My usual pain usually comes stretched in months with signs and way outs. This one came suddenly and paralyzed every bit of me. It was the most intense thing I had ever felt. And right there at my wits end( remember I was blaming my past- which I thought we were in good terms with, for this mess), God reminded me that ;had He been through with me, He would have called me home immediately. He isn’t keeping me alive for nothing or accidentally. I was satisfied with His answer. But if I was to remain alive as He wishes, He would then have to sort out my pain. And you can imagine my shock when He told me what He thought of it. He was not only the reliever of my pain but also the perpetrator of it. Like what?? Nothing had prepared me for this. I was crying while laughing at the same time. This loving God took me through the most terrifying moment of my life. I remembered begging Him to work in me despite my will, I just never thought He wouldn’t use soft tactics. A friend ,the same day told me she thinks God has sarcastic humor in Him. And I couldn’t agree more.
Coming out of the fire, something had changed. Or rather who can be through fire and remain the same? My view of myself was totally different.God in two painful practical weeks taught me a lesson that would have taken thousands of theory classes to learn. He knew that. My view of my churchmates, friends and the world as a whole also changed a bit. I had been seeking hope in hopeless situations. In simple terms, the whole refinery process wasn’t easy. It was hard. Like really difficult. I wish I could paint for you the picture. But definitely worth it. As they say, He didn’t say Salvation would be easy, He said it would be worth it. I can’t see what God is doing now in m life, but I’m sure whatever it is, it must be wonderful if it requires all this preparation through the fire.
And you remember that verse about the fire and the valley of the shadow of death? Well God was being sincere when He said He will be there during the storm. He was there for me. At times he threw some few bones to make me smile in the middle of all that pain. Like an impromptu trip to Western Kenya. Only God would be that humorous, chose to answer one of my prayers in the middle of answering another which wasn’t turning out to be any sweet.
Point is, when God decides He is working on you, nothing will stop Him. Not even you giving up. Its hot, its painful but trust you me, you will laugh at the end of it all. His perspective will leave you astonished. And loved. That’s the thing with God’s refinery. It take you back to His loving arms, albeit more Christ like than you were before. Don’t be afraid to ask God to transform you. Just don’t expect it to be any easy or simple or enjoyable. But i promise you, God’s baptism with Fire is worth it.