For everyone will be tested with fire. (Mark 9:49, emphasis added)
None of us like the thought of walking through fire. It does not seem logical that we would enjoy something that threatens to consume our very being. From a young age we are taught to be wary of fire, to steer clear of it, and enjoy it's warmth from a distance. However being in the midst of it is far from enjoyable. When my husband burned his finger many years ago, he said it was one of the most painful experiences he had ever endured. A burn also takes a great length of time to heal, and in doing so still leaves a scar.
The above verses may initially may seem threatening, but are in actual fact a promise that we would do well to lay hold of.
Everyone is going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you'll be well preserved from the eternal flames. (Mark 9:49 -The Message)
God does not allow the trials and tribulation in our lives to consume us. He uses times of testing to refine us, to bring us into closer relationship with Him.
A year before our youngest son Sam was born, God gave me a vision in the night, of our family walking through liquid fire, and being preserved in the midst of it. We were spent, but preserved.
In this way God controls the ferocity of the fire, much like a controlled burn of the woodland.
Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for foresters.
Controlled burning stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees, thus renewing the forest. (Source)
Just as in the forest, fire cleans out the debris in the underbrush, and prepares us for new growth. It stimulates all of the seeds (truths), that God has been hiding in our hearts, and as they emerge the charred black remains begin to flourish, with vibrant green shoots, which stand in stark contrast to the barren wilderness.
These spiritual changes are what others see, when we emerge from times of hardship. Outwardly, we seem to have been worn beyond recognition, overcome by past circumstances, and a shadow of our former selves. Then suddenly vibrant new growth appears, and transfixes those that thought we had succumbed to the fire. I for one am thankful for the times of fire in our life.
What appears in the charred ashes, is the most breathtaking new growth you will ever see, this side of heaven.