Stories of Impact
From Impossible Places
God is in the refining business! Because of his love for us, he will reveal himself through adversity and trials. The most famous scripture that speaks of this process is found in Hebrews 12. If you've ever wondered what God’s perspective is on refining us through difficulties, consider verse 11.
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."
Often that process takes time, but ultimately it represents God turning up the heat because he loves us! Other times, that heat manifests itself immediately through his supernatural power. All because of his love!
I witnessed this supernatural power first hand while I was visiting a brick kiln in Pakistan. I looked into the eyes of 100 slaves who were being abused, beaten, chained, and sexually assaulted, all because of one owner and his corrupted perspective of power. He treated these precious people worse than animals and shockingly walked through life with a clear conscience. He had never met God and had never heard the gospel message. When our team arrived at his kiln, the God who described the refining fire in Hebrews 12:11 made his presence known!
As we shared the gospel, this brutal owner felt his entire body “catch on fire”. When we spoke with him after, he was panicked and confused as he described a physical heat that had come over his body. He ran away from us and sought counsel from local witch doctors, convinced we had placed some kind of curse on him! As you can imagine, the witch doctors provided no relief and he remained in this condition - feeling the refining fire of a loving God.
He called and asked us to return several days later. We sat in his office and explained the fire he was feeling was not caused by our team, but by a loving God who had let him feel this fire to gain his attention. He listened intently while counting the cost. For this influential Muslim leader to receive Christ, it would mean a life of sacrifice and persecution, including separation from friends and family. The cost was great, too great for him to decide immediately. So, our team followed up with him for several weeks and the Holy Spirit softened his hard heart.
The man on fire, who recently had a cancer diagnosis, was healed and the fire relented………when he said YES to Jesus!
Now this owner is a new creation in Christ. He is on a path of discipleship, listening to the Treasure and meeting with Christian leaders. He now knows Jesus because our team was sent to a place where His name was still unknown. He knows Jesus because people were brave enough to go into a hostile environment and risk physical threats and acts of retaliation. He knows Jesus because of God’s infinite love!
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