How do you know if gold is real? How can you determine the proof of gold? Experts tell me that one way, maybe the best way, is to melt the gold down. In the fire the purity of gold becomes obvious. You can take it to the experts at a pawn shop or a jewelry store, but even then the best guess rules. Only heat reveals gold’s true purity.
This is also true in the Christian life. The only sure way to determine the quality of your faith is to test it in the fires of adversity.
1 Pet. 1:6-7 says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
So trials are necessary for a reason we may not fully appreciate. These melting experiences prove the quality of our faith. We suffer grief in all kinds of trials for what reason? So that our faith, which has higher value than gold, may be proven genuine. The end result is that Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith, may be praised, glorified and honored.
Following Tammy's death in August of 2007 I had the most amazing experience. I was overcome gently but profoundly by a sense of assurance. That sense was far more profound that can I make it sound. It was the most solid awareness of the credibility and security of my relationship with Christ that I have ever experienced. It was almost a revelation. I remember the thought clearly. I believe the Lord spoke to my spirit, "You really are a believer."
As most believers do, I have struggled over the years, slightly not profoundly, with assurance of salvation. I knew that salvation comes as the work of God but that there are certain marks in a believer's life which identify a genuine experience of grace. I knew those marks were present in me. I settled that issue a long time ago and had a sense of strong assurance.
This later experience after Tammy’s death was unique. It was as if God revealed to me that my suffering of this trial was proof that I was His child. My response of faith, not the strength of my faith, was proof I was a believer. My hope in God’s provision and the willingness to trust Him was proof. Then there was the word of God that came by His Holy Spirit that day. I’m grateful for the sweet ministry of the Holy Spirit throughout my grief. He comforts when we let Him. He whispers hope and encouragement as well as assurance. I was given a sweet peace that I wasn’t looking for nor that I thought I needed. That in and of itself was the sweetest part. You see, the Lord gave me something I didn’t think I needed and for which I wouldn’t even have asked. He gave this gift because He is good. The truth is He had already given the gift of truth in the Word of God, and my faith is borne and strengthened by that written Word.
I’m grateful for the proof of faith.