This week during bible study, a minister at my church spoke about how God allows certain things to happen that temper us, not torment us. Immediately I thought about the process of tempering chocolate. I am not sure that everyone knows what I am talking about but it is a process of heating and cooling chocolate to form stable crystals. These crystals then assure that the chocolate will be firm at room temperature. Supposedly tempering chocolate can take about thirty minutes but it is a very detailed process that involves a person’s undivided attention.
This journey first begins with selecting your chocolate. There should not be any other solids in the chocolate, meaning something like fruits or nuts, and the chocolate should be of good quality; it should not have any white or grey streaks. I thought this was such a powerful correlation to the life of a believer because God chooses us and we do not have to fix ourselves up or add anything; He wants us as we are, in our purist form. It does not matter if it is dark, white, or milk chocolate, it just needs to the right kind of chocolate in order to be tempered. This reminds me that God is no respecter of persons, He just wants someone with the right kind of heart; a person who fears Him and does what is acceptable in His sight.
“So Peter opened his mouth and said: 'Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him,'” (Acts 10:34-35, English Standard Version). What has taken place thus far has only been the selection process. The chocolate, just like us, needs to be refined; it has to be chopped in three quarters, melted, and brought to a particular temperature. After this takes place, more chocolate has to be added, cooled, stirred until it reaches the right temperature and then it has to be tested. When the testing is over, any chunks of chocolate that remain within the melted chocolate must be removed so that it does not disturb the cooling process. This sounds all too familiar, if you really think about it, this has everything to do with our walk with Christ. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” (James 1:2-4, English Standard Version). This is something that happens continuously throughout this journey and sometimes it can honestly be frustrating. We are often ready to give up right when we are near the end of our tests and trials. This week has been very difficult for me and it has shown me where my trust in God truly lies. Our faith can waiver when we do not get immediate results from people and this also applies to our relationship with God. In the past, when I did not get what I wanted immediately, I would think that the Lord or a person sees I have a need and not meet it, I would automatically think that I must take care of it on my own. When I try to do things based off of my own efforts, without Christ, I fail. I end up being exposed, vulnerable, and hurt with no covering. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust,” (Psalm 91: 1-2, English Standard Version). God is our refuge, and He is the one who tempers and prepares us for what is to come. He sees what we cannot. Though we can get ourselves ready by being in a relationship with God, reading His word, praying, and serving Him, we only know so much. If we are under the shadow of the Almighty, then He will get us ready for the battles that are to come. An Elder at my church once said, “If you want certain things in your life, to take a knee and bow down to Christ, then you must bow before Him first.” We have to let God temper us so He can add and remove the things that will bring us closer to Him. We can give all of our broken pieces to God and He can temper them so that we come out smooth, shiny, and ready to serve.