"We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance" (Psalm 66:12).
It is nice to hear that God desires to bring us into abundance. In fact, many a preacher has promoted the goodness of the Lord and His ability to prosper His children. Alas, my experience is that this gospel has little to do with the gospel of the Kingdom as our Lord works in the realm of the sanctified soul. The passage above tells us that God does, in fact, bring us into places of abundance. However, upon further study of the entire passage, we learn the route to this abundance.
"For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance" (Psalm 66:10-12).
God's economy of abundance often has little to do with material blessing. In God's economy, abundance is often measured in wisdom and knowledge of Himself. It is then that we are truly blessed. Wisdom cannot be gained through intellectual pursuits. Wisdom only comes through experience. Real wisdom comes through the kinds of experiences that come only through the deepest tests. For some lessons of refinement, the prison accompanied by burdens leads us through the fire and water. This is the territory that must be traveled to reach that place of abundance. It would seem strange that a loving God would use such means with His children. What we often fail to realize is that the measuring stick of God is the character and likeness of Jesus Christ Himself in each of us. This cannot be gained through a life of ease and pleasure. Ease and pleasure fail to refine.
Is God using your marketplace to refine you today? Has He got you in a prison that appears to be laid with burdens on your back? My dear friend, take heart that if this is the place you find yourself, realize that you are entering a place of abundance that few will ever attain if you are faithful through the tests. The darkest hour is just before daybreak.