When Emory was a boy up in Canebrake, West Virginia, he loved to sit on the rail of a bridge that was located near the old black church, and listen to the service.

Services were any thing but quiet and dull, because almost everyone had a tambourine, and they knew how to play them. He doesn’t remember any of the songs, but he loved to listen to them, and he especially loved to hear the old black preacher preach. One particular sermon he still remembers was the one about going through the fire.

In the unique style of our precious African American brothers, he said, “Some days, when we thinks we can stand no mo, when we thinks everybody hates us and we ain’t got a frin in this worl, don’t fret. It’s good fo you. We always gonna have some fiery trials. They’s some difficult people out there. They’s some hurtin’ times, some sickness and some dying. But the Lawd is still in control, so let’s praise Him!

Beloved, I can identify. How about you? Right now God’s people are being tried in fires we’ve never experienced before. But I thank God he’s still working on us. Remember His promise to us in 1 Peter 4:12? Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings. That when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

Lot’s of folks think we are saved to live on easy street, but Beloved, that is not so. Tribulations are the exercises that make us what God wants’ us to be, and that is like Jesus. Romans 5:3-5 reminds us. “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

If going through the fire will make me more like Jesus, then bring it on, because when I stand before Him, I don’t want to be ashamed. How about you?

— Rebecca Somoskey