Blowing Off A Little Steam
The morning was crisp and clear. It was almost cold, but not too cold. The temperature was just right for most. It was walking that fine line between the seasons that brought on that exilerating feeling when you blow your breath and see a fog coming from your face. Low hanging clouds graced the otherwise clear sky. The sun was peaking out from behind one of the long, slender clouds and painted a beautiful silver rimmed picture for all who passed that way to see. All around the early morning sky was brightening over the countryside. It was a beautiful sight.
In the distance I saw a huge cloud of what looked like white smoke arising from the ground. As I drew closer I recognized the cloud of steam coming from one of the shallow oil wells, as one of the work-over crews did their magic on the well.
In the oil field community, as I understand it anyway, there are several kinds of wells. There are huge, deep, heavy production wells that make the land owners and the oil companies very wealthy. On the other hand, there are small, shallow, low production wells that produce smaller amounts of oil and smaller amounts of profits.
Occasionally, the small, shallow wells have to receive a lot of attention to keep them in production. The crew will remove the pumping device, swab out the well, make whatever repairs they need to in order to make the mechanical part of it work correctly. Afterwards, they will pump the well full of steaming, super-heated water in an attempt to break loose the oil below that is encrusted, or in some thicker form in order to get it to the surface and turn it into a usable product.
During this steaming process, the excess steam will escape through an opening and dissipate into the atmosphere around it. It is actually a beautiful sight to those passing by from a distance.
Oil is a precious commodity. Without it, at least for now, we would be in trouble. Many things that we’ve come to depend on so much, come from oil, or at least have some direct connection to the slippery product. If we took away everything in our homes that has a direct connection to oil, you would be surprised at the massive void you would witness. No wonder they go to such great length to retrieve the precious stuff. I guess the principle is, “when it won’t come out on its own, turn up the heat!”
Our faith is somewhat like that. Just like oil wells, sometimes it gushes out. On the other hand, it sometimes had to be worked with to come out. Still, there are times when the heat has to be applied to get our faith to the surface to the point it is usable and productive.
James, the Lord’s brother, spoke to the church who had undergone some very serious persecutions. Many of them had all but given up. Some had reverted back to their old ways, while others were apparently not seriously affected by the challenges to their faith. Because of their difficulty, James stepped in with some wise counsel, especially about the trials they were encountering. He demonstrated and explained how God was super-heating, or steaming their well of faith that they might be productive citizens in the Kingdom of God.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing our your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:2-4, 12)
Trials are not our enemy. Trials are not God’s way of punishing us for doing something wrong. When we suffer trials we are not being “spanked” by God as many claim, but trials are God’s way of “steaming” our wells of faith to once again make us rich and productive. Once flowing, the tanks will be filled and others will benefit tremendously from the rich crude produced below.