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 it is unfair because they are both made of bamboos and yet have different fates and values. It has never thought that it suffers only one cut, but 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 and its 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 to enter art palaces and is cherished and collected as a treasure. When bamboos are cut down from rocky hillsides overgrown with weeds, they have to experience so much cutting, peeling, drilling, 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, what kind of experiences the bamboo flute goes through is not a rebirth in the baptism of fire? The value of the bamboo flute is obtained by hardship and suffering, whereas the ending 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 finally turned into refined steel.
It is the same regarding belief in God. Through various circumstances and trials, people can at last build testimonies.
It is recorded in the : “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 for 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 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 to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
Job lost his herds all over the mountains, vast wealth and his children. He didn’t complain or judge, but obeyed God absolutely by truly believing in God. When boils erupted all over his body, he still praised Jehovah God though he suffered, like a blossom emanating delightful fragrance amid adversity. In the end, Job received blessings from God. He was blessed with twice as much as he had 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 in life. All of this made Peter achieve the supreme love of 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 , 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 his faith in God will 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: 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 it not worthy of our rumination?