Friday, October 12, 2007

Distilled Characters

When I read Sabbath’s reading for the Quarterly, I remembered my days as a college student working in the Chemistry Lab. While the memories were still fresh, I read the information on a bottle of bottled water. The company said that they follow nature’s water purification’s system - distillation. In nature water evaporates and as it goes up it forms clouds, that later condense and fall as rain to the ground. I remembered that in the laboratory, we heated the water until it evaporated; we made the vapor go through a pipe that was colder than the original reservoir, and the vapor would condense into water again. But, this time the water would not have the impurities it originally had.

You see this process is possible because each substance has a particular boiling point. This is the temperature in which any substance turns from liquid to gas - evaporates. If the water is mixed with substances has a lower boiling point than water, then when you apply heat to the water these substances will evaporate before water does. The opposite is also true.

Let us use an example of water mixed with alcohol and salt. When we apply heat to this impure water, the temperature will raise until it reaches the boiling point of alcohol, which is 77C, and will stay there until all alcohol evaporates. After this the temperature will rise up to the boiling point of water, which is 100C, and will stay there until all water evaporates. Since salt’s is not even liquid at 100C, it will remain in the container, probably stuck to the edges. The water in vapor form that rises from the container is pure, to covert it back to liquid we must condense it and collect in liquid form on the other side. This water would be pure or distilled water.

It should go without saying that the container, in which the water is heated, should withstand heat of more than 100C (212°F). Otherwise the container would crack and everything in it would be spilled. In my days in college, only one brand of glass containers, called flasks, could do this: Pyrex. Pyrex guaranteed that their glass could withstand heat above 100C.

You are probably asking, what is the spiritual application of this information? I am glad you asked. In this analogy, we are the water. Sin is the impurities in the water. Christ is the Pyrex flask. Heat is the trials. As long as we are in Christ we are guaranteed that all trials will do is purge Sin away from us. Until we learn to trust and depend on God with that trial, and the Sin that was impeding this evaporates, the temperature will not rise. As long as we are in Christ, we are guaranteed that if the trial evaporates us, Christ can condense us into distilled purified people. This may apply to resurrection and translation. Any aspect of Sin that trials could not evaporate will not evaporate with us. We will be freed from Sin and all its implications.

You may ask, why would allow trials to come to us? Why will a loving God allow the heat of trials to make us suffer? The answer is that He does it because He loves us. Just as you rebuke and spank your child because you love them; God sends trials to rebuke us. He says so in Revelation 3:19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” In Jeremiah 9:7 God says that He allows trials to “refine us.” He allows trials to bring us closer to Him. He allows trials so that we learn to totally trust and depend on Him. So, trials, as hard as they, are in the end blessings. Yes, blessings, because they teach us to love Him above all things and to become one with Him. Are you paying attention?

The Apostle Peter says that in trials God is glorified, let us read 1 Peter 4:12-14,

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
1 Peter 4:13
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1 Peter 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.

Trials are not a necessary evil or something we bear just because. The pros of trials outweigh the cons. They are beneficial. We should be thankful for them. While it may not be wise to pray for them, it is neither wise that you are spared from them. Just pray to God that He helps you through them. This in the end is the goal of the trial: that you learn to think of God first and foremost; that you yield to Him the reigns of your life. Will you do this?