Glorifying God In The Fire
By George Whitefield
Fire, my brethren, not only burns and purges, but you know it separates one thing from another. God Almighty knows, we are often purged more in one hour by a good sound trial than by a thousand manifestations of His love. It is a fine thing to come purified, to come pardoned out of the furnace of affliction; it is intended to purge us, to separate the precious from the vile, the chaff from the wheat: and God, in order to do this, is pleased to put us into one fire after another.
We are all apt to think well of being Christians till we are put into one furnace after another. “Think it not strange,” saith the apostle, “concerning the fiery trial which is to try you...” (1 Pet. 4:12). What must I do? The grand thing is to learn to glorify God in the fire. “Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires...” (Isa. 24:15).
When do we glorify Him? We glorify God when we endeavor to get such grace from the Lord that we may not dishonor Him when we are under the cross. Therefore we glorify God in the fire when we quietly endure it as a chastisement, when we bear it patiently.
We glorify God in the fire also when we are really and fully persuaded God will not put us in the fire but for our good and His own glory.
We glorify God in the fire when we say, “Lord, don’t let the fire go out till it has purged away all my dross.” We glorify God when we wish for the good of the fire; when the soul can say, “Here I am, my God, do with me as seemeth good in Thy sight.” We glorify God in the fire when we are content to say, “I know not what God does with me now, but I shall know hereafter.” We glorify God in the fire when we are content to walk by faith and not by sight.
We glorify God in the fire when we are not grumbling, but humbly submitting to His will. A humble spirit walks not in sulkiness and stubbornness. When that awful message was brought to Eli, what does he say? “It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good” (1 Sam. 3:18).
We glorify God in the fire when in the midst of the fire we can sing God’s high praises. Thus the children of Israel glorified the Lord; the song of the three children in the fiery furnace is a sweet song! as are all that are made in the fire. O all the works of the Lord, praise and magnify Him forever! “…Not only so,” saith the apostle, “but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience” (Rom. 5:3).
In a word, we glorify the Lord in the fire when we exercise patience, meekness, humility; learning more to distrust ourselves, having a deeper knowledge of our own weakness and of God’s omnipotence and grace. Happy when we can look back and say, “Thus have I been enabled to glorify God in the fire.”