In the Old Testament, fire is nearly always a symbol for God. Abraham walked in covenant with Yahweh in a pillar of fire in the wilderness, the Lord appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and then there was the chariot of fire, and the fire that came down with Elijah. With all these examples, it’s no wonder that Jehovah chose the same image to affirm His work through the prophet Isaiah. In this case, He promised to be a purifying or cleansing fire; not one that would entirely consume or destroy, but one that would refine and heal His people. Though it would happen at times through scorching pain, they would emerge sanctified and become a living representation of their Lord. In short, it would make them who they were supposed to be.
As this was true back then, my friend, it is also true today. God’s presence in your life is a refining fire and you must not be surprised when you face trials or endure searing pain. Though He never causes your difficulties, your gracious Savior uses the hardships you face to smooth out your rough edges, purify your motives and behaviors, and cultivate a deep compassion within your soul. As you walk with Him, He takes every trying circumstance and repurposes it to refine your character and make you stronger and more resilient than you ever imagined you could be!