We go to Mass, we partake in frequent confession but we are not quite perfect are we? We are inherently human. We slip, we fall, we make mistakes. We often face many a trial in pot lives. Some shake us to our core. Some, though they may not seem so at the time, effect a course alteration in our lives that ultimately benefit us. You have heard that “it’s what is inside that counts” right? Read on.
GOLD FROM COAL
Near Cripple Creek, Colorado, Gold and tellurium are mixed as tellurite ore. refining methods of the early mining camps could not separate the two elements, so the ore was thrown into a scrap heap.
One day a miner mistook a lump of ore for coal and tossed it into his stove. Later, while removing ashes from the stove, he found the bottom littered with beads of pure gold. The heat have burned away the tellerium, leaving the gold in a purified state. The discarded ore was reworked and yielded a fortune.
People are like tellurite ore. We have gold inside us, but it often takes some trial in the fiery furnace of life to transform us.
TRIAL AND ERROR
Perhaps this section should be called “error and trial”. Our trials in life come at us usually by our own errors. We make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes lead to our trials in life. We may gossip falsely about someone and they find out leading to some public embarrassment for us. We may lose our temper while working on a project or while in the middle of a contentious meeting. Big mistake that could put us in the proverbial targets of our peers.
We are human and we make mistakes. It’s part of the result of original sin. We are not perfect but not everyone accepts that as a reason for our reactions and behavior. Suffice it to say there are always lurking around waiting for us to slip up to take advantage of our mistakes for their own benefit. From office politics to real world politics it’s hard to escape the trials of humanity. These trials pale in comparison to others.
TRIAL FOR TRUTH
Sometimes our trials come about as a result of standing steadfastly for the truth. We see example after example of this in the Bible. One such example occurs in the Old Testament book of Daniel. We learn of Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They refused to worship idols of their time. Daniels friends were thrown into a furnace and Daniel was thrown into a lions den when they refused to worship pagan idols. All of them escaped their trials unharmed.
Modern day Christians face their own trials. These trials are persecutions due to their faith. Sometimes, as is the case in many instances with ISIS, they are killed for their faith. They face the ultimate trial and pay the ultimate price with their lives. This in itself is not new. Dating back to the early church Christians have been persecuted for their beliefs. Many have been martyred for those beliefs. They paid the ultimate price for truth.
The conflict between good and evil is timeless, and every Christian faces some level of trials. We may not necessarily face the martyrs physical death but we may face spiritual persecution. This can come from snide comments about our faith or contentious debate with a believer from a Christian denomination that is unfriendly to Catholics. No matter where they come from theses trials are very real and particularly painful for those on the receiving end of them.
WHAT DO THESE TRIALS MEAN
These trials simply refine us. Much like the ore in the furnace that when burnt away gold dust is left behind we are the same. We have gold within us. Sometimes our rough exteriors need to be “burnt away” to reveal the gold within. These are what trials are for. They purify us and if we focus on our faith during our trials, the gold, the good within us will bubble to the surface.
The uncanny thing is this. Without the trials of life this gold we are talking about will remain hidden. We will have no reason to tap into the inner good buried within each of us. This inner good would remain buried and we may not even know it exists within each of us if we had no reason to discover it.
Many wish to avoid the trials of life. It should not be that way. We have the means to overcome any trial that comes our way. Jesus is with us through all of our trials. He is there to lean on and to help us through. He understands the pain and anguish that accompanies our trials. We can use these circumstances in life to build up our faith, be a witness to others and spread the Good News through that witness. We may not consider all of these things while we are “put to the test” but once we examine the situation after it has passed we will realize the good it has done.
Trail by fire leads to a heavenly reward. Embrace your trials, don’t run from them. Your eternal life may depend on it.