Coming Forth As Gold

A few days ago, I prayed through James 1:2-3 and was intrigued by the additional possible meanings of each Word recorded in an online Bible lexicon (sources: https://biblehub.com/lexicon/james/1-2.htm, https://biblehub.com/lexicon/james/1-3.htm): 

“Let your leading thought (consider), one piece at a time (all), be an awareness of God’s grace (joy), when you are totally surrounded (encounter) by many colored (various) testings (trials), coming to know through personal experience (knowing) that the being found genuine (testing) of God’s persuasion in you (faith) brings to a decisive conclusion (produces) your by God-enabled remaining under the challenges allotted (endurance).”

What continually strikes me, each day I sit to pray through Scripture and look up the Words in the online Bible lexicon, is how the translations we have chosen focus so much on human effort, when the underlying meaning of the Words I look up always emphasize God’s doing for us and His proving of Himself in us, for us and through us.

This morning, I found my faith failing me. I felt depressed, hemmed in on every side by trials that just proved my weakness, my inability to press through and make things happen that are beyond my control. I felt like giving up, but also heard that little still Voice inside me calling me to come rest with Him.

So, I lay down in bed for an hour to give my physical and spiritual heart rest. I woke to find this verse in my inbox:

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” MATTHEW 7:13-14 NIV

I suddenly remembered the verse I had been praying a few days earlier in James (1:2-3) and found my heart rejoicing, realizing this narrow way I was being pressed into was God’s Way for me and He was inviting me to let go of my faith in myself and my ability, to rest in His. So, I grabbed my bike, with my husband’s and children’s blessing, to head to the forest nearby.

I trusted God to help me through the incessant chest pain and pressure and shortness of breath I have been experiencing daily since a bike ride on Monday. Feeling abandoned by medical professionals who I have trusted to help me, God helped me remember this isn’t His abandonment of me and that my desire to come away with Him to pray, was His desire for me too.

As I biked, the Words “come forth as gold” came to my mind. Turns out they are words spoken by Job as he too was hemmed in on every side by painful trials of physical and emotional affliction. As those around him, rather than helping him, were making things worse, even telling him he must have brought all the calamity upon himself, Job cried out (Job 23:10 KJV):

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

As I looked up the Word “know”, I again discovered the Word “yada”- to know one another as Adam knew Eve, conceiving a child from that intimate union. And the Word “gold” could also mean “oil”. Does it remind you of what it reminded me too?

And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves. Matthew 25:8-10 ESV

So, these trials that are burning away my faith in my own ability to stand by faith are in fact bringing forth oil: God’s Holy Spirit power for me and in me, as He calls me into knowing Him more and more intimately.

When I wanted to give up as my weakness and inability was exposed, the Father’s still small Voice called me:

“Come away with Me, Anna, and let Me prove My ability and power for you and to you. Let me show you the truth of My Promise to you through my beloved Peter:

1 Peter 1:6-7 HCSB
You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Yes, YOUR faith perishes through the fire, but that’s only so MY SON’S faith and HIS persuasion of you to believe and trust Me may be revealed in and through you. So that the trust of JESUS may be revealed in you. Rememember what I told you: “There’s life in the womb”.

Oh yes! All those places the way becomes narrow and impossible for us to walk through is where more of Jesus is being birthed in us: His life, His breath, His faith for us. Praise Him!!! He is LORD alone!!

And that reminds me WHO our narrow gate and door truly is – JESUS working in us, for us and through us to lift up our weary and discouraged hearts in praise:

New International Version

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.

New Living Translation

Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.

English Standard Version

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

John 10:9

There are many reasons us humans give for not believing in God, and I face them daily in my own heart also – but now I see that when it comes down to it, all that’s needed is the Spirit’s touch. There’s no reason or logic that can stand against the power of His holy touch upon us …that’s how He brought me, His lost lamb, home too those 8 years ago.

It was walking the hills around Wanaka in New Zealand, looking out onto the glistening lake and surrounded by mountains every side. I felt the power of God descend upon me with such incredible peace, right when my heart was shattered into a thousand pieces, having just heard Mum had two to three months to live. In one moment God cut through all the accusations and lies of my accuser to wrap me in the truth of His love for me.

Gates of Praise
A poem by Anna Louise Smit


I am your light and your salvation
I am your glory within
Call your walls: salvation
Your gates: praise.

I am your glory within
Swing wide you heavenly gates
Your gates: praise
Let the King of Glory come in.

Swing wide you heavenly gates
Return to your fortress, prisoners of hope
Let the King of Glory come in
Light shines in darkness.

Return to your fortress, prisoners of hope
I am a wall of fire around you
Light shines in darkness
I am the Lifter of your head.

I am a wall of fire around you
Call your walls: salvation
I am the lifter of your head
I am your light and your salvation.



Psalm 24: 9 (ESV)

Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.


1 Chronicles 16:28 (ESV)

Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!


Psalm 22:3 (ESV)

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.


Isaiah 60:18 (ESV)

Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.


Zechariah 9:12 (ESV)

Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.


Isaiah 62:1 (ESV)

For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,

and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet,

until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,

and her salvation as a burning torch.


John 1:14 (ESV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.


2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (MSG)

6 It started when God said, "Light up the darkness!" and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful. 7 If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us.

Keep Me Yours

About two weeks ago, I asked God for a Word He wanted me to receive that day and it was Psalm 32:7:

You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

As I shared it with a friend and told her that “deliverance” can also mean “to calve” and “surround me” can also mean “fetch me/cause me to come” I suddenly remembered something my husband and I watched on TV. It’s a series called “Farmer Seeks a Wife”.

One of the women woke early and because she got up then, she was able to partake in the calving. She was so overwhelmed by the beauty of that moment alone with the farmer, experiencing such an amazing moment alone together. It emphasized again for me the beauty of that hiddenness God calls us into, to be set apart unto Him and to still to His birthing of the new in our midst.

And then later, I sat there and read further in A Passion for the Impossible, a book written by Miriam Huffman Rockness about the life of Lilias Trotter, and just cried and cried. I sat with the Promise God gave Lilias right before her own weary heart and others’ discouraged hearts were opened wide to receive a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit – and to see hearts opening to Christ all around them after years of sowing without reaping:


Malachi 3:1
“See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the Lord of Hosts. 

What I found so beautiful is that this birthing of new life came as Lilias and others confessed their own weariness and need for a fresh infilling of Christ. As they set aside time to seek God and to rest and recharge away from all their activity “for Him”, God moved mightily in their hearts and suddenly simulatenously in the hearts of those around them, who were then drawn to Christ like a magnet.

I have been drawn away into that quiet place with Christ afresh this week. On Resurrection Sunday Jesus drew me to His discipline of the disciples. As He entered the locked upper room, where they were hiding out in fear, He rebuked them for their unbelief and their hardening hearts, for refusing to believe those who had reported the Good News of His resurrection to them. In this rebuke of His disciples, Jesus uncovered the hardening of my own heart, the sorrow, unbelief and discouragement that I had allowed to hide out and fester in me, tainting my heart and my vision. And so, also so deeply encouraged by the repeated humbling of Lilias before her Maker, each fresh season of her life anew, I decided to take the time to lay my heart fully bare before God.

It’s funny how simple things really are, and how easily my heart softens at God’s touch, when all I do is I just draw near to Him, when all I do is just openly confess my discouragement, my sorrow and my unbelief. Jesus responded to me so beautifully through His Word, through a movie my daughter and I watched a few weeks ago, and through my husband’s uncovering of what lay beneath the surface.

God uncovered my dented pride (ouch), my clinging to the (oh-so-much better) past and the shame I have felt of my current (humble) circumstances. And He invited me into His seeing: into His pride in me, the new life and heavenly future set before me and my intrinsic worth in Him. As I embraced God’s seeing of myself and others, I could see how the sins of pride and unbelief had been sucking the joy out of me, filling me with grief and stealing my delight in learning from, growing with and connecting to those around me. And I rejoiced in the change of mind He gifted me, as He lifted such a heavy burden off of my shoulders, overwhelming me with His tender loving kindness.

As I was sitting with what God is doing in my life and heart, I came across this old poem I penned in prayer in 2018, and I so longed to share it with you, as it still so reflects the desires of my heart. May it bless your heart also to pray this with me afresh and to linger with our precious Jesus, inviting Him to show us all the ways He has already been answering these desires that are in fact the desires of His beautiful heart for us, His lowly, gentle and servant-heart.

KEEP ME, LORD



Keep me ever weak before You

That You might be my Strength

My Cup, My Portion.



Keep me needy on my knees

That I might know You ever more

Your life, Your grace, Your love for me.



Keep me humble

Casting here my burdens

Upon the One who saves.



Keep me thankful

Remembering all You've done

And all You've promised true.



Keep me breaking

Bread from heaven falling

Not hoarding, but in partaking gift.



Keep me pouring

My heart out like water

Panting after nothing, but Living Water.



Keep me seeing

Your hand upon

Your sovereign rule and reign.



Keep me learning

My heart here open

To Your perfect leading.



Keep me safe

Within your boundaries

Not stepping there beyond.



Keep me leaning

All my weight

Upon my Lord and Savior.


That I might live

Each day, forever

In Your holy Presence.



Keep me: YOURS.