Refining silver takes an extreme amount of patience and ridiculously high temperatures. It's a process that requires more attention to detail than we realize because done too quickly, the metal that you want to retain, can quickly burn up and turn to ash.
As God sits over our lives, He uses the same process. The fiery trials we face should never be considered strange because we know that His intention is always to shape and transform our image closer to Christ. As you might have guessed, we don't get to choose the areas He chooses to bring the fire to burn out the impurities. From my experience, He picks the ones that are the most damaging to our relationship with Him as well as deeply personal so that it gets our attention.
Several years ago God started me on a journey that took almost 7 years to complete. I will grant you that the length of time had nothing to do with His desire to have it take that long, but rather my resistance to accept the discipline He was trying to instill. I can look back now and see how I fought Him every step of the way. Honestly it was incredibly painful and I didn't understand at the time that what He was trying to accomplish was truly going to be for my benefit. As a result I attempted to maintain control when all I really did was continually put myself back in bondage.
After yesterday's post I don't think it's a coincidence that today I read that Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but wordly sorrow brings death. (2 Corinthians 7:10) The understanding of godly sorrow isn't an easy thing to grasp. And while I would never assume that I have the most complete answer, this is what God has revealed to me.
Godly sorrow has more to do with the acknowledgement that you hurt your relationship with God by your actions, it's not about being sorry you were caught.
Godly sorrow is meant to get you to move forward making different decisions with the understanding that by alternate choices you will grow closer to Him in the process.
Godly sorrow gives you the assurance that you have been rescued from the pit you put yourself in, that you are renewed and able to leave behind the part of you that made unhealthy choices, and that your relationship has been restored through the blood of Christ.
Godly sorrow doesn't look back and think If only, but rather looks forward and praises God for His love that never stopped, His faithfulness that never waivered, and His presence that never left.
The thing with worldly sorrow, what I have struggled with in my discontent, is that it leaves us with the nagging feeling that things would not only be different, but better, than where God has placed us currently if our circumstances or past were changed. And while that may not lead to a physical death, it most definitely leads to a spiritual death because it decreases our trust in God and diminishes the hope we've been given that promised to never put us to shame.
When we place anything ahead of Him, or insist that our ideas of how it should be done are superior, it never fails that those idols will do nothing but rob us blind of the life He intended us to live. We can't in our limited capacity understand all the ways and reasons God has prescribed life to be the way He has in His word, but we can be assured from our past experiences and failures that when we do things His way, it always gives us greater fulfillment. And while it may not come naturally to our divided hearts, we have the strength of Christ to enable us to do all things, like submitting to the refiner's fire.