By Melanie Stone
This past year the Lord showed me that He was allowing my husband and I and our ministry to go through a time of testing. He compared it to the fiery furnace the Hebrew men endured in the book of Daniel, assuring me that we would not be consumed and we would walk out not even smelling of smoke. The purpose for the testing was to prepare us and the ministry for a real outpouring of His life and glory.
In 1 Peter 4:14 trials are described as fiery. When we go through a fiery trials, the purpose is to refine us. Wild fires will cleanse a forest floor and make way for new life to emerge. Blacksmiths use fire for metal to remove impurities and strengthen the product. Since fire is used in context of testing, we can expect a test to do these things:
- To remove what is dead
- To remove what is impure
- To start new life
- To make us stronger
Life has been good for my husband and I, filled with activity to advance ministry through Grow Churches and Freedom House Church. We’ve experienced personal breakthroughs and provision in areas of health and finance while enjoying family and new opportunities. For the most part, life has been good. However, over the past year, and again recently, Jerry and I have endured false allegations, betrayal, abandonment and loss.
I’ve cried many tears, doing my best to help this handful of people understand the truth, only to find myself making things worse or to be ignored. While shedding some tears, the Lord said to me, “You don’t mourn when a seed is planted into the soil. You are expectant for the plant to grow. In the same way, don’t mourn the end of yourself, instead expect my life to burst through your life and ministry.”
In prayer with some of our team, I saw a vision of hands releasing their grip from a bar, and I heard the Lord say, “Though many have removed their hand from your ministry, I have not removed Mine.” Then I saw a larger hand on the other side of the bar in a tight grip. After some of the team left, a song came up in me from years ago. The Holy Spirit prompted me to find it and play it. I was familiar with the chorus of the song, but when the second verse was sung, the Holy Spirit confirm what I had heard in prayer, “If you call us to the fire, You will not withdraw Your hand. We’ll gaze into the flames and look for You.” His Presence flooded my heart as He loved on me.
Let me tell you, if God leads you into a test, His aim is not for you to fail. His goal is not for you to be consumed. His intention is that you come through unharmed! His hope is that you are better, stronger and ready for what He has prepared for what you are about to do next. Being broken before God is a good thing when we surrender to the breaking. Once broken, like the shell of a seed, God wants to burst through with His life, His plan and His anointing.
Knowing this, engulfed in the pressure of the trial, I wiped my eyes and searched for the Lord. I saw Him, I heard Him and I ran into the arms of my Abba Father. We can do nothing without Him. I regularly spend time with God, but through difficulty, I find communion with Him is the only thing keeping me going. His Presence becomes everything that I need, the only thing I want. It’s in these moments in the Spirit that new life breaks through – new vision, new impartations, new anointing. The desperation causes us to let go of something we had in order to give God what He wants. What I have cherished in the past is nothing compared to what God has in store for what’s next. When we go to a deeper level of surrender, God is able to take us into a higher level of His glory. Even the Son of God went through death in order to experience resurrection life. What does God want to raise up in you? Are you willing to unite with Christ by going through dying to yourself in the fire?
Speak to your situation, “New beginnings, come forth, break like the dawn.” I saw another vision. From the ground I looked up and from underneath the leaves of a plant I saw multiple seeds hanging down. God said, “This is the reason for your dying. For the multiplication of seeds. This is how it works,” He said.
In the spirit, when we allow ourselves to be buried, God’s rain falls on us. It opens the seed, it causes germination, it causes growth, it causes fruit, it creates more seed for more harvest. Just be willing to go through the process of being useful to the Lord of the Harvest, the King of the Kingdom, the Head of the Church body, the Lover of the Bride. He is yours. You are His. This is when true freedom is released, where bondages are broken and His glory is seen and received, saturating us so God can have His way. We have to learn to give way, to bend, so God can flow through, sweeping through us individually and as a group with waves of glory. This is needed on the earth now, not something to wait for when we get to heaven. Now!
How to Go Through The Fire and Not Smell Like Smoke
- With joy for the prepared needed (James 1:2-5)
- With love for the opposition (Luke 22:48)
- With faith for the breakthrough (Daniel 3:17)
Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, you can go through the fire, find freedom and walk out without even a trace of what you went through. Not only is Christ FOR us in our trial, Jesus puts Himself right IN the fire with us. Though you are dying to self, you are not BY yourself. Your loving Lord doesn’t leave you alone. He is he One who allows the test, brings us through the test and we don’t even smell like smoke!