For every servant of the Lord, God gives gifts and talents that we may be able to fulfill His will for our lives. Some receive many gifts, and some obtain one or two, but everyone receives what God has determined appropriate for each one; for those of us who have been given much, much will be required.
Don’t envy others who walk in greater gifting than you because they had to suffer much more. The value of the oil of the anointing of God is costly. Be aware that with many gifts from the Lord comes much responsibility, and with more responsibility comes much more testing, trials, and refinement necessary beforehand. Those who God gives more talents and abilities, He sends more persecution and afflictions to purify the gift. As the Lord told Isaiah, He causes the fires of affliction so that you may be prepared to work effectively for the sake of His will.
“For my name’s sake, I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise, I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” Isaiah 48:9-11
So no matter what kind of trials you are enduring or how prolonged it has been, trust in the Lord and keep His promises in plain view. He is faithful to the faithful. He is merciful to the merciful and loving to those who sacrifice what they could have done for themselves and gave to others instead. So be obedient to the Lord in all your ways. Keep His Law and rules, quickly repent when you sin, and seek to be holy as He has instructed all of us to be holy. Then, be ready to move forward according to His voice and will to do whatever the Lord asks you to do.
Remember, when you meet many and continuous afflictions, the Lord is building your spiritual muscles for what He has planned ahead. When a weight lifter desires to get stronger, he must “lift heavy,” but it doesn’t happen without pain and suffering. In like manner, the degree of hardships the Lord allows in your life shows that you must “lift heavy” to strengthen your spiritual muscles. The reason for God’s furnace of affliction is that you may be ready for the next race on the Lord’s roster with strength, wisdom, and agility in the Spirit.
“And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'” Zechariah 13:9
The Lord is merciful and compassionate. At the same time, He must take you through the furnace of affliction necessary to refine you into His instrument of righteousness, pure and holy, to accomplish His will. Always remember when you find yourself in the fire, God will not leave you alone. He never abandons His loved ones but does everything for your good.
Every servant of the Lord worth their salt must walk through His furnace of affliction to refine the gifts and talents He has given them. It is His process of changing the raw material of who you were into the precious material of His image and glory. Depend on Him, seek His voice and direction, learn the lessons He teaches, and endure to the end. You will make it because God has designed your path and will carry you through the flames to the end. You will thank Him in the end for all the suffering you endured to be purified to fulfill His will for the kingdom of God.
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast so that they may open the door to Him at once when He comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when He comes. Truly, I say to you, He will dress Himself for service and have them recline at table, and He will come and serve them.
Blessed is that servant whom His master will find so doing when He comes. Truly, I say to you; He will set him over all His possessions.
And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to His will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him, much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. Luke 12:35-37, 43-44, 47-48