Count It All Joy

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”

– Eph 6:10-18

During worship this morning, I saw a blacksmith hammering and bending short pieces of red hot metal into different shapes. Again and again, the metal was put back into the fire, taken back out, turned and hammered. At first, the work didn’t progress enough to reveal what was being forged, but gradually I began to recognize different forms of armor – links for chain mail, a handle for a sword, the beginnings of a blade.

And I saw that the blacksmith is the Lord and the pieces of metal are our trials and sufferings.  The Lord is forging armor from our trials. The fire and the hammering occur during the trial, while it is happening. The more severe the trial, the more significant the addition to the armor.

“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.”

– Romans 8:28

I saw that some of the armor is forged more than once, worked over time, sometimes strengthened, sometimes enlarged, sometimes transformed by multiple trials. The armor that He forges from our trials is added to the armor that we receive from the Lord by grace.

The more trials, the more armor. The greater the suffering, the stronger the faith, the greater the wisdom, the greater the victory. Those who have been through the worst trials make the strongest warriors, able to fight on behalf of those weaker in the faith. Those areas where we have seemingly failed the most become areas of greatest authority and power. He can use us to minister His power and healing to others in the very areas we have suffered the most. The Lord transforms all of our loss into gain. Our sufferings are a cause for rejoicing as we consider what they become in Him, when we see that not one trial is wasted, that not one moment of suffering is futile. He works all things together for good.

“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.”

– James 1:2-4

-  February 1, 2015