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I read a story like this before: A bamboo pole is used as a clothes-airing rail. It feels very distressed that it has been exposed to wind and rain and is menial, while the bamboo flute has been cherished by people as a musical instrument. The bamboo pole thinks that this is unfair because they are both made of bamboo and yet have different fates and values. However, it does not realize that it only suffers one cut while the bamboo flute has endured great suffering before it is finally made …
That’s true! Despite sharing the same origin, the bamboo pole and bamboo flute have totally different destinies and values.
When a bamboo pole is used as clothes drying equipment, its fate, status, and value in people’s hearts have been established. We can even imagine how it will end up after a few years—being dumped to the bin or burned away.
The bamboo flute, however, follows its master entering art palaces and is cherished and collected as a treasure. When bamboo is cut down from rocky hillsides overgrown with weeds, they experience so much cutting, peeling, drilling, and go through a series of checks and get painted, and eventually become elegant instruments playing beautiful melodies.
With the same origin as the bamboo pole, though, aren’t the experiences a bamboo flute goes through equivalent of that of a baptism of fire? The value of the bamboo flute is obtained by hardship and suffering, whereas the fate of the bamboo pole is due to the fact that it has only suffered one cut.
People often only pay attention to the exquisite and luxurious gems, but how many of them know what harsh circumstances the gems have gone through before they finally become priceless stones? Magma with high temperature, enclosed spaces, high pressure …
A piece of stainless steel comes into the world through a great deal of forging and smelting. After repeatedly being thrown into fire, the iron ores, which can be said to have been reborn, are eventually turned into refined steel.
This is also applicable regarding belief in God. Through various circumstances and trials, people can at last forge testimonies.
It is recorded in: “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried” (Zechariah 13:9).
“for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver …” (Malachi 3: 2-3).
“But he knows the way that I take: when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
Recalling God’s work on the saints through the ages and their experiences as recorded in the Bible, we cannot help but have awe towards God in our hearts. Moses had been in the wilderness for forty years. His day was spent with prairie and sand and night with sheep and stars. He ate fruits and drank spring water. Over the course of the forty years, his heroic pride had been completely worn down; his temper had gradually disappeared; his will and faith had been tempered by the harsh environments; and his reliance on and obedience to God had been formed through the hardships in life. Finally, he could be used by God and entrusted with the great task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt.
Job lost his herds all over the mountains, vast wealth and his children. He didn’t complain about or judge God, but obeyed God absolutely by truly believing in God. When boils erupted all over his body, he still praised Jehovah God though he suffered a lot. In the end, Job received blessings from God. He was blessed with twice as much as before, and lived with no more pain until he died full of days.
Peter experienced trial, refinement, smiting, and discipline hundreds of times. He also suffered great hardships of life. All of this made Peter achieve a supreme love for God and be perfected in the end, a model and specimen for being made complete by God.
I thought of God’s words saying: “The greater God’s refinement, the more people’s hearts are able to love God. The torment in their hearts is of benefit to their lives, they are more able to be at peace before God, their relationship with God is closer, and they are better able to see God’s supreme love and His supreme salvation. Peter experienced refinement hundreds of times, and Job underwent several trials. If you wish to be made perfect by God, you too must undergo refinement hundreds of times; only if you have to go through this process, and have to rely upon this step, are you able to satisfy God’s will, and be made perfect by God. Refinement is the best means by which God makes people perfect; only refinement and bitter trials can bring out the true love for God in people’s hearts. Without hardship, people lack the true love for God….”
“Refinement does not mean removing people from before God, nor does it mean destroying them in hell. It means changing man’s disposition during refinement, changing his motivations, his old views, changing his love for God, and changing his whole life. Refinement is a real test of man, and a form of real training, and only during refinement can his love serve its inherent function.”
“When God works to refine man, man suffers, his love of God becomes greater, and more of God’s might is revealed in him. The less man’s refinement, the less his love of God, and the less God’s might is revealed in him. The greater his refinement and pain and the more his torment, the deeper his true love of God will be, the more genuine hiswill be, and the deeper his knowledge of God will be. In your experiences you will see that those who suffer great refinement and pain, and much dealing and discipline have a deep love of God, and a more profound and penetrating knowledge of God.”
These words made me think: When faced with the various trials God arranges for us, as followers of God, shall we accept or reject them? The bamboo pole is worthless because it has suffered only one cut, while the bamboo flute is of high value due to the great suffering it has endured during the process of its production—the price determines the value. Is this not worthy of our rumination?
The Offering of Isaac - Genesis 22 1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said to him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2 And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of. 3And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, Abide you here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. 9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. The Sacrifice Averted 11 And the angel of the LORD called to him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12 And he said, Lay not your hand on the lad, neither do you any thing to him: for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from me. 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. 15 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16 And said, By myself have I sworn, said the LORD, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son: 17 That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice. 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelled at Beersheba. Recommended: God Treasures One Who Can Listen to His Word and Obey Him Why Did God Command Abraham to Sacrifice Isaac? The Work of God’s Management and Salvation of Mankind Begins With Abraham’s Offering of Isaac God Only Cares About Those Who Are Able to Obey His Words and Follow His Commands
The Crossing of the Jordan (Joshua 3:1-17), And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;
Jonah's Prayer Jonah 2:1-10 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of my affliction to the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and you heard my voice. For you had cast me into the deep, in the middle of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all your billows and your waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet have you brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in to you, into your holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice to you with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah on the dry land. After reading the tale of prophet Jonah, I was moved by God’s love! The people’s wickedness in Nineveh had come up before God. Jonah rejected the call of God because he was not willing to see God save these people who committed many evil deeds. It can be seen that man is selfish and has no love for others while God’s love is selfless. He sent Jonah to Nineveh again to convey His will. Finally, the people in Nineveh had truly repented and gained God’s tolerance and mercy. From this we can see that God has devoted tremendous His efforts to mankind. God is unwilling to destroy humanity as long as there’s half a chance. He hopes mankind can continue to exist. Extended Reading: The Creator Expresses His True Feelings for Humanity The Creator’s Sincere Feelings Toward Mankind Only the Creator Takes Pity on This Mankind Knowing God: Is God Always Merciful and Loving?