Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Refinery

The last several weeks, the Holy Spirit has really laid this word on my heart: Refinement/Refinery. As I look around this is a process that is taking place in many areas.
The refining began at home:
In regards to my own life, 2012 has been a year of refinery. Beginning in January; living through the daily agony of the skin on my son’s head and face cracking, bleeding and sloughing off on a daily basis for about 3 months straight with no answers. I found myself sobbing and on my knees in prayer daily begging for answers, strength, perseverance and God’s glory to be revealed through that storm. As the healing began in May, everything around us was in need of catching up… adjusting to the first year of parenthood, the unexpected four to six hundred a month we spent just trying to figure out what was wrong with Oliver, paying for treatments, special lotions, organic formula and foods. My prayer was to trust in His provision. When it gets so overwhelming and unbearable he takes you ONE STEP further, to a place where ONLY HE can come in and wipe the slate clean.
It was time for total surrender, and the timing was right. By end of July and early August we could say we were trudging through a season of my Husband’s cancer news and [what seemed like] every appliance in the house breaking at the same time. But hope was beginning to shine through. It was a TUFF couple of months no doubt; but the refining process was already well under way. The previous nine months having given us new strength and an even firmer foundation in Him.
Everywhere around me I was reminded throughout the year not to pity my own tribulations as my dearest friends were dealing with heavy, heavy life challenges as well; folks unable to pay their bills, losing jobs and homes, fighting for their marriages and families, kids in the ICU the list goes on. Men of faith being asked to compromise their values for corporate America; that was a common theme this year as well.
All of these people and families near and dear to me struggling to live a respectable life without facing persecution for their differences, values, and faith; a process of refinement. I am proud to say in the cases that particularly come to mind, there is victory taking place on different levels. There is victory in perseverance for the Kindom of heaven (in marriages prevailing over the enemy’s will, jobs being found where men can speak truth) and there is victory from an earthly perspective (bills getting paid and healing taking place). All a part of a refining process.
On a larger scale:
I see things like apathy in the church and towards patriotism and I can’t help but wonder: Is this all part of a greater refining process? The apathy is something we see on a grand scale for instance a stat I learned today 80% of teens here in Tulsa [right smack dab in the middle of the “Bible Belt”] are unchurched. Kinda shocking huh? But, I also see it in my own small prayer group with lame excuses week after week for not showing up or participating. Totally taking for granted a group of people that have volunteered to offer support to one another and the simple fact that we even have the freedom to do so. Kinda makes me wonder how long we will keep fighting for a freedom we don’t even seem to treasure as a nation or as individuals. It’s scary frankly and if you just rolled your eyes; you, my friend suffer from apathy as well. My question to you… What DO you care about?? What ARE you willing to fight for? If you can’t answer that question you are without passion and in effect DEAD, spiritually dead.
But back to the refinement process. I can’t help but wonder if there IS a greater refinement process going on? Maybe God is putting his people through a refinement process. 1. To see who really has passion for truth. And 2. To make those individuals stronger and BOLDER for him.
Maybe he wants his entire church to go through a refinement process. Maybe people roll their eyes about church and walk away without introducing their children to Him because the people at the head of the church are not the ones who are truly passionate about Him ….and Truth! Maybe at the end of this process there really will be a revival; a movement of love … TRUE LOVE. It’s a refinery, that’s my theory. I can’t otherwise make any sense of the apathy and selfishness that literally makes me SICK in this world.

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