As we step over the threshold of a new year, some are stepping into 2024 with a feeling of hope deferred.
I recently read a post by Wanda Alger that was quite enlightening. Her story was my story. She described what the year 2023 had been for her. I sat in stunned silence. Later, as I read through some of the comments people had left her, I realized that many, many Christians have faced these same challenges this year.
I have never heard of so many people having health problems rising seemingly out of nowhere. It appears there has been an onslaught concerning health and wholeness against many in the Body of Christ. For most, it has not been just one thing – but one thing after another – with no apparent breakthrough. Why is this happening?
I believe it is twofold. I believe the enemy knows his time is short and he must do anything he can to cause us to walk away from God and from our faith in God. Otherwise, he knows, we will see the greatest outpouring of God we have ever seen. There is no doubt – an outpouring is coming! Will we partake of it?
Hebrews 3:14 makes it clear, if we are to partake of this outpouring, we must hold on, as it says, For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,
It’s not an easy thing to do, to stand firm in faith in the midst of the fire. But, with God, all things are possible. Still, times like this cause us to have many questions. Questions like, where did I miss God? Have I somehow allowed this to come on me? Why am I not seeing breakthroughs? And of course, that age-old voice that speaks against the Most High God by whispering in your ear, “Did God REALLY say healing was for everyone? Remember, so and so, they had more faith than you and they died.”
It is not a fun place for sure and to be honest, before reading Wanda’s post, I felt very alone in my battle. However, after reading the many comments, I realized this is about much more than my battle. It is about an attack on the Body of Christ, and it is not only concerning healing but also family’s and finances.
Now, let me back up a bit, I said I felt it was twofold. The other reason I think this is all happening is God is preparing His Body for what comes next – the glory – the outpouring of God. Does that mean God caused the sickness, disease, lack or fear? No! Absolutely not. No part of it is from Him – however, He will use what the enemy meant for our defeat and turn it for our good, if we stand firm.
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive (Gen 50:20, NKJV.)
He is the same God today. He will take anything and everything meant for our harm and turn it for our good, if we simply continue to stand in faith. We must stay in the fight. We must believe He is working and will work all things for our good.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28, NKJV.)
Whether we like it or not, the time will come when there is a testing of our faith.
Hebrews 12:29 tells us, Our God is a consuming fire! It is His fire alone that will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Malachi 3:2-3 says, But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver.
Zechariah 13:8-9 says, And it shall come to pass in all the land, says the Lord, that two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, this is My people; And each one will say, the Lord is my God.
We see from scripture that it is God who refines. Silver is refined only one way, by fire.
Purification comes one way; by being plunged into the heart of the fire, the place where it’s the hottest. And kept there until it is completely purified. Until it loses all resemblance of what it once was. Until the Refiner sees His reflection in His creation.
I want you to notice that the scripture does not say that God is like a forest fire or an incinerators fire. It says He is like a refiner’s fire. There is a difference.
A forest fire destroys everything in its path. An incinerator consumes completely. A refiner’s fire does not work that way.
The Bible says in Malachi 3, I the Lord do not change, therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed, you are not destroyed.
Our God is like a refiner’s fire. He refines, He purifies. He removes all the impurities. He burns them up and leaves the gold, or silver, intact.
The Bible says in 1 Peter that we are kept by the power of God through faith during times like these. It also says we are to rejoice, knowing we will see victory!
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him (Ja 1:2-5, NKJV.)
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory (1 Pet 1:6-8, NKJV.)
It’s time to rejoice with JOY inexpressible and full of Glory!
Why? Because the Bible says when we have been tried, we shall come forth as gold.
Psalm 66:12 tells us, We went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment.
One translation says, “You brought us out into a place of great freedom.” I love that!
Friends, be encouraged today. If last year wasn’t what you hoped for, God is not finished yet. Cast your net of faith one more time, knowing He truly is a faithful God of more than enough. More than enough peace. More than enough health. More than enough provision. Remember, everything can change in a day, in a moment. Our job is to hold our confidence in His unfailing Word until the end. Our part is to believe His Joy is coming! Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Ps 30:5, NKJV.)