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Sometimes the fiery trials of life seem to go on for soooo long. We are tempted to wonder, “Is there an end to this? Why does the fire have to be so hot? Why is it that when things have just started to cool off, I find myself back in the fire – hotter than ever?”  While I was in the heat myself it was difficult for me to see it. But now that I have come out of it, I can see what the fire was all about. We were being baked in God’s oven.

        Jeremiah tells an interesting story. 

 1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD : 2 "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message."
3 So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
 5 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand. (Jeremiah 18:1-6 NIV)

        We refer to this as the breaking and remaking process that God often allows us to go through to shape us into the man or woman that we are destined to be. O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (Romans 9:20)

        To take this illustration a step further, let’s look more closely at how pottery is made. First the object is shaped, and possibly re-shaped. Then, before it can be of any real use, it must go into the oven.

        Firing is the process of heating ceramic wares at high-temperatures to make their shape permanent. Earthen pottery must be baked at temperatures between 1,000 – 1,200 degrees Celsius. That’s really hot. Beautiful porcelain must be fired at even higher temperatures than earthenware or stoneware. Then it is coated with glaze and sent for a second firing at a temperature of about 1,300 degrees Celsius, or greater. This process is what gives porcelain its strength and beauty.

        This concept recently came to me when I was praying for a brother of mine and his wife who were going through a particularly difficult time that did not seem to be letting up. I prayed, “Lord, why are these battles so long?” He replied, “They are baking in the oven.” It was clear to me what He was talking about. The oven is a tool needed for a specific purpose, a set temperature, and a designated amount of time. When something goes into the oven, whether it’s a beautiful vase or a birthday cake, it comes out completed.

        Understanding this principle is important in helping us to endure the fiery trials of life. 1 Peter 4:12 tells us, Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you. To give you a simple play on words, Jesus said that if we stay faithful to the end, He will tell us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” So if you feel that you’re still in the heat of the fire, be patient. God’s not done cooking you yet. He wants you ‘well done’. 


 


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