A severe trial is sometimes called an “acid test.” This term originated during times when gold was widely circulated. Nitric acid was applied to an object of gold to see if it was genuine or not. If it was fake, the acid decomposed it; if it was genuine, the gold was unaffected.
In God’s view, our faith is “much more precious than gold,” and it too must be tested (1 Pet. 1:7). But these “acid tests” are positive ones. The Lord is working to reveal genuine faith, not to expose false faith.
During hard times, though, we may feel overwhelmed with the fear that our faith is decomposing. Ronald Dunn, a Bible teacher who has experienced much personal tragedy, knows what we are going through. He writes, “I’m often mystified . . . . I don’t understand why it is that as I endeavor to live for God and pray and believe, everything seems to be falling apart. Sometimes I struggle, and I say, ‘Dear Lord, why are You allowing this to happen?'” Dunn concludes, “It’s good for us to remember that God is not an arsonist; He’s a refiner.”
If you’re undergoing a test of your faith, you can rejoice because it may be the very thing that God wants to use to purify and strengthen you.
In the trials God may prove us
Just to bring us forth more bright;
He can never cease to love us—
We are precious in His sight. —Anon.
God is not an arsonist; He's a refiner. —Dunn