Proverbs 17:3 (ESV) The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.

The LORD here is compared to that which is used to burn off impurities out of metal in order to make them more pure. The analogy is obvious. The troubles of life are the works of God for the purpose of driving us to greater conformity to Christ. God is testing our hearts. A faith that cannot stand trial is no faith at all.

The Gospel is not a call to come and follow in an environment of safety and easy sailing. It is a call to die, to suffer, to warfare and pain and loss. There is not much more comforting than the truth that the current crises, whatever they may be, are sent by God in order to prove the genuineness of my faith.

This should not be interpreted to mean that the Christian life is miserable. I Peter 1:3-9 is the best answer to that. Life is hard. The Christian life is hard, and even though it is, we rejoice in what He has done for us and are filled with inexpressible joy.

He has given me life. He walks with me through this valley of the shadow of death and He has given very great and precious promises. Such truth and realities should not be traded off for anything else, for all else is a lie.

I Peter 1:3-9

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.