Fire not only burns and purges, but it separates one thing from another.
God Almighty knows that we are often purged more in one hour by a good sound trial — than by a "thousand manifestations of His love. It is a fine thing to come purified, to come pardoned out of the furnace of affliction. The furnace is intended to purge us to separate the precious from the vile, the chaff from the wheat. And God, in order to do this, is pleased to put us into one fire after another.
There are some roads which are finely paved and smooth — but the King's road to Heaven is strewed with crosses and afflictions!
My brethren, we need to be purged! How apt are we to want to go to Heaven upon a featherbed. But many go lying upon beds of pain and languishing, which is the King's highway there.
God will not put us into the fire — if there was not something to be purged away. The grand thing, is to learn to glorify God in the fire.
We glorify God in the fire, when we quietly endure it as a chastisement, and when we bear it patiently. It is a dreadful thing when we are saying with Cain, "My punishment is greater than I can bear!" But the language of a soul that glorifies God in the fire is this, "Shall I, Lord, shall I a sinful man, complain for the punishment of my sins?"
We glorify God in the fire, when, though we feel pain and anguish, we at the same time say, "Lord, we deserve this and ten thousands times more!"
We glorify God in the fire also, when we are really and fully persuaded that God will put us in the furnace only for our good, and His own glory.
We glorify God in the fire when we say, "Lord don't let the fire go out until it has purged away all my dross!"
We glorify God in the fire when the soul can say, "Here I am, my God, do with me as seems good in Your sight! I know that I shall not have one unnecessary stroke!"
We glorify God in the fire when we are not grumbling, but humbly submitting to His will. When that awful message was brought to Eli, what does he say? "It is the LORD; let Him do what seems good to Him." Let my children be killed, whatever is done, it is the Lord's doing!
We glorify God in the fire when we rejoice in Him — when we can thank God for striking us — when we can thank Him for whipping us!
Happy are you who have got into Christ's fire!