This Sunday I was at the church I grew up in. While the preacher was new, nearly everything else remained the same. It was hard sitting there with my parents and kids. Church is supposed to be a family thing, and I am missing a huge part of mine. It was in that loneliness and despair from learning of CJ's extension that God decided to speak to me through the sermon.
Forged by fire. What does it meant exactly? When a metal is forged by fire it is placed in hot flames, shaped then cooled down. The intense heat makes the metal playable and easily shaped by the right person. As the metal cools it is transformed into a much harder, stronger and more pure piece of metal.
How does that pertain to a deployment or church one may ask. Read the scripture below from 1 Peter 1:6-7.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter 1:6-7 )
There you have it. This is my test. This is where my faith will be strengthened and purified. It is through this deployment that I have learned to completely rely on God. Most nights I have no clue how I made it through the day or how I'm going to make it through the next. As I lay in my bed I pray for strength, support, comfort and a whole load of other things.
I pride myself on being hugely independent. This deployment has shown me that I am completely reliant on God. To the outside world I may look like I'm doing it nearly all alone, but I know I'm not. I know I would have failed by week 3 without God pushing, pulling and dragging me through. Words can not express my gratitude in God for this.
It amazes me every day how God knows exactly what little boost I need to make it through. On Sunday it was a sermon that I swear was written just for me. That may seem a bit odd since I already mentioned the only thing in my old church that has changed is the pastor. God used a man who I've never met to push me through when I was at one of my lowest points right after learning CJ will be gone for much longer than expected.
My trials aren't over, but the promise of joy ahead will keep me going. The fire around me will not melt me. It will only purify and strengthen my faith.