There is something forged in all of us that can only be forged through fire. Perhaps intense periods of struggle, pain, betrayal, persecution, and rejection are the times when the baptism by fire that Jesus talks about occurs. When we cling to Jesus and proclaim He is good in the midst of the licking flames, our spirits rise in a strength that is proven unshakable, and God is glorified beyond reckoning. Our pain becomes the terrain of God. It becomes sacred. Finding the good, or rather choosing to find the good, is choosing to align oneself with the Spirit of God who is always working toward our good.
It’s more than a matter of focus, but it can begin there. It’s different from denial; it is not turning your face away from the sacred pain but embracing God in the midst of it and finding that in embracing Him a greater good comes than you could have imagined. You become grateful in the pain, because you found Jesus with a crystal clarity heightened by all that has cut you to the quick. With that posture, you can become free from pain’s deadening, life-stealing grip. In that place of freedom, our joy remains intact, planted firmly in the goodness of our Father.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are instructed to give thanks: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Perhaps it will help us to give thanks when we know that even in the darkest of nights when we cannot see, we can trust that the God of love is forging gold in our hearts. It is a gold that cannot be stolen by any thief, no matter how desperately they may try.