A lot of people don’t know what a crucible is even though they have heard the word. Simply put, a crucible is a pot where metals are melted and purified. The word dross is often used in conjunction with crucible and that is the ‘junk’ that is skimmed away to leave the pure metal behind. The heroes of the Senses Novels all go through their own versions of a crucible. As do we, in our real lives.
No one that I have ever met is immune to heartache, pain or fear. For the Christian, there are times when we might feel that God has abandoned us, left us in the wilderness to face the worst. For the non-Christian, it is a feeling of desperation, loneliness, and depression. I will tell you that these two ‘types’ of people are where they are for distinctly different reasons.
The non-Christian faces these feelings because they don’t have anyone greater than themselves that they can rely on. You can go to every psychiatrist on the planet, take every antidepressant there is, and that core feeling will never go away. I’m not saying that you won’t feel better, the medication will pull a curtain over the emotions by readjusting your brain chemistry, and the psychiatrist will give you a way to put those feeling outside of yourself, but neither of these things will take care of the root of the problem. I don’t need to tell you what will if you are reading my blog posts, you already know. If you want help getting there, email me.
The Christian feels these things because they are meant to. You are in the crucible. I once had a boss that was having a particularly bad day, as he walked down the hallway toward me he just mumbled, “This is a test.” If you are in the wilderness, that is precisely what this is, and it is meant to break you. Your pride, your ego and the false world you have been creating around you are being excised. God is trying to get your undivided attention.
Job was put through the meat grinder. He lost everything that he had. Possessions, livestock, and family were all wiped away. Seemingly this was some kind of strange cosmic bet between God and the enemy. In reality, it was God’s way of getting Job back on track. You can gather all of your riches and give the glory for those riches to God, but you are still focused on gathering those riches. When Job finally came to the point of being broken, God stepped in and reminded him of just where he fits in the scheme of things. After that, Job knew who and what had to come first and kept it that way.
Jesus had all kinds of parables that dealt with this topic. If you are consumed with ‘things,’ you cannot have your mind on the things of God. That is one of the reasons that people are put to the test.
There is another reason that Christians are put into the crucible. It is a refining fire. It is meant to help strengthen our Christian faith. Imagine being in a situation where you have to choose between denying your faith or being killed, what would you do. Many of you are saying that you would choose death, but would you really? That is one of those times that you won’t know until you actually face it. But let me help you a little in case it ever comes up. This is not our home. This isn’t where we are meant to be. While we may have obligations and people that we care about, those responsibilities fall away when we enter the Kingdom, and we will see the people we care about again. That’s the point of being a follower of Christ. We already have eternal life.
Don’t be afraid of the tests that you face in this life. They won’t be enjoyable, but you have a way to endure, you have someone that will always be there for you. You aren’t ever alone when you are in the crucible.