Staying Level:

It has always been a challenge for me to stay calm in situations that require you to manage your stress. Recently I have been fairly good at rolling with the tide. I am actually kind of proud of myself because when it seems that I am under some kind of spiritual attack I am reacting pretty calmly. For that I am seeing growth and this makes me proud. 
So many times I have looked at people who manage themselves accordingly and wanted that particular skill set. It’s been something that I envied. Until lately it seems as though I would never be that person. I have done some reflecting to kind of see what the change has been.
It seems that God knows what He’s doing up there after all. I heard this story about precious gems once. It says that the gem guy, whatever he’s called, has the fire some rubies and other stones to make them as pretty as they are. Not only does he have to fire them for a specific length of time, has also has to be careful to fire them at the correct temperature. If he fires them too long they will break and crumble, if not long enough they will not reach there potential beauty. There is this very sensitive balance that requires precision that is costly if not done properly.
I like that analogy because we are God’s precious gems, and God is the one who perfects us. He knows just how much fire and pressure we need to reach our maximum beauty. Why, because He created us. He knows that precious gems come from other materials, some seemingly useless. They are caused by pressure and heat and when they bind together they create something unique and wonderful.
That’s us. When we go through trials that challenge us and tax us emotionally and spiritually we are to thank God. Why, because that is preparation for the next adventure. We have such a tendency as people to never see the beauty in our every day lives. Our jobs, our kids, our families, our accomplishments. It seems as though some of us are so caught up in how hot the fire is we never stop to see that we are ok. We are making it, and there is things to love during our refinement. Hard to believe, but it’s true.
I went through a particularly challenging time a few years ago. I felt as though the whole world was crashing down and I was screaming inside. It felt like no one was listening and there was no end in sight, no solution to my woes. That’s when that story came to me. I was in the fire screaming and God was the Refiner sitting outside consoling me. It was like He was saying “I hear your cries child and I know that you are scared. But fear not because I am Your Refiner and you are my gem, I will not allow you to break.” But still I cried and cried and screamed and screamed from within that fire and He stayed steadfast and patient. Calmly and tactfully He assured me. It wasn’t until that woe had come to an end that I finally seen the beauty in what he was saying. Now that particular event is easy to deal with. Specifically that one was people hating me, rather vocally. Now when people shout obscenities, I can take it in stride, knowing that my Father is with me.
Take comfort in our trials friends. They create beauty. 

With Love,

Jeff Utnage 823469