the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

Everything that can endure fire

Sunset over Mae Salong Mountains, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Historically, when I say I am in a season of battle it means I'm getting beat up, bloody and dirty as I struggle to hold the ground on my salvation path. My battles have always been seasons of weakness and dependence, but this season is different. There are victories and though the field is bloody it feels like I'm moving on to new battles, having seen victories in those previous combat zones.

It is a new season, like the Christmas that came to Narnia. A welcome relief after agonizing ages of winter and darkness.

God has taught me so much through this time about His love.
His love does note spoil the child.
His love is not always gentle.
But, His love is always good, and never feels like hate.

God has taken me to an amazing verse that shows His love towards His children. Children who must battle, who must endure warfare. The Israelites were wading through the battles that claimed the holy land. They were tired and stained. Later, in Joshua, it says that the earth itself was weary from the wars, and the land received its rest. Yet even through battle our God shows his mercy to his children:

Numbers 31:23 (NKJV)
23everything that can endure fire, you shall put through the fire, and it shall be clean; and it shall be purified with the water of purification. But all that cannot endure fire you shall put through water.

This is how God cares for his children. This is how He causes us to grow. We are made whole, and yet somehow incomplete. When we begin our journey, our armor is cloth and wood. We get beat up and can't endure the fire that cleanses to completion, so we are cleansed with water.
Over time, however, that changes. We grow, we mature, we are strengthened, we are delivered and then one day we enter a battle that is like nothing we have ever seen.

We feel safer.
We feel stronger.
Our armor is Steel and Gold, and it can endure the fire.

The battles are harder, but the victories gain ground.
The cleansing is hotter, but there are no stains that last.

That is what I feel like today, I'm fighting battles to gain ground. These are battles by fire, they are hard, and they stretch my faith. But here's the promise: He has given me the faith, He has equipped me to go through this cleansing by fire.

Victory in the spiritual journey is not peace, it is reaching the battles "that can endure fire".


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