This article was first written while a young man from our congregation was engaged is in the grueling 56 hour endurance test known as “the Crucible.”  It is the final endurance test of Marine bootcamp with a combination of drills, some of which are conducted under live fire.  It is designed to train these Marines under battlefield conditions.  This young Christian named Skyler Stone, moved from recruit to Marine after he finished the crucible.

            Webster’s dictionary defines crucible as 1. “a vessel used for melting and calcining a substance that requires a high degree of heat; 2. A severe test.”  Long ago in my high school science classes I can remember putting substances into a porcelain dish and heating it until its chemical elements were revealed.

            Life has its crucibles, its testing under fire.  For some people, it is chronic physical illnesses and battling debilitating disease.  For others, it is economic hardship and trying to survive on the streets from day to day.  For others it is the challenge of traumatic events or accidents whose impact is felt for years afterward.  Some tests are about their severity.  Other tests are about their longevity.   It is experiencing the words of the character Andy in the movie The Shawshank Redemption: “I was in the path of the tornado.  I just didn’t expect the storm to last as long as it has.”

            Jesus went through the crucible of the cross for our salvation.  "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken and smitten by God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." - Isaiah 53:4-5.  “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” – 2 Corinthians 8:9.  The taunts, the humiliation, the beating, the scourging, the spit, the crown of thorns, the nails in His flesh, the searing struggle to breathe during the hours on the cross, the spear thrust into His side.  All these were parts of the crucible of suffering that Jesus endured for you and me. 

            Christians through the centuries have gone through the crucible of suffering for simply being loyal to Jesus.  Peter spoke to Christians long ago about their “fiery trials.”  “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jeus Christ.” – 1 Peter 1:6-7.

            I do not know what kind of crucible you may be presently in, or what you have endured.  Remember that Jesus is with you in all your trials. And know that good brothers and sisters are praying for you and supporting you.  May God help us all to endure the crucible and stay loyal to Him.