Refiner’s Fire by Aaron Sheffield, Student Pastor Have you ever wondered why God allows us to go through hardship in order to grow us deeper in Christ? Soon after getting engaged, my future wife and I lived almost three hundred miles apart for almost two years. As this was before the time of text messaging and social media we had to connect using long-distance calling cards over the phone. The relationship truly became long-distance. It was painful. We both thought about each other all the time, longed to be close, and swore that we would never take our proximity for granted in the future. Our lives were encapsulated in the Beach Boys song “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” especially the words: You know it seems the more we talk about it It only makes it worse to live without it But let’s talk about it… God taught us to never take each other for granted-- and though sometimes we still do, our relationship is stronger and deeper because of that hardship. In like fashion, the valleys of life are used by God for good in deepening our love and appreciation for Him. However, He doesn’t stop there. Those hardships are often fires that Jesus walks with us through in order for us to become more like him. This is why discipleship is important. Discipleship is walking with Christ- even in His suffering- to become more like Him.