When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
I've been told when an ironsmith is forming a vessel, he puts the material in a kiln of fire to make it flexible. Repeatedly, he puts the material in the fire, removes it, and bends it, gradually shaping until the vessel is formed into the design he originally had in mind.
The fires of live are not meant to burn us,
but to shape us.
To recreate us so that we look like Christ.
What if a vessel - after repeatedly being put in the fire - is not yielding to the ironsmith's intentions? Likely the heat of the fire is increased to make the substance more malleable.
If after this process is repeated over and over, and the material is still not taking shape, if the material is unable to be shaped and moved, wouldn't that ironsmith put it aside? A substance which refuses to yield to the designers hand may be unfit for use.
What a process. What an analogy.
I know first hand if not guarding the gates of our minds and the meditations of our hearts, it is easy to experience trials and to grow bitter, calloused, or unforgiving in our hearts.
While it is human to feel such emotions, that is no excuse for harboring grudges in our hearts. The Bible outlines many reasons to not allow our hearts to become defiled, one being that it makes us vessels unfit for the Master's use.
Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:21
Some important questions to ask ourselves when in a fire season:
What is God wanting to teach me through this which perhaps I cannot learn any other way?
Who is God wanting to reveal himself as to me through this?
His vessels and are often forged through fire and shaped through adversity. So that one day, we can look back and shout in praise about the fires we have been through because it was in the fire that we received a blessing greater than we could have imagined - a mind and heart transformed into the image of Christ.