The Bible uses a variety of different metaphors to describe the process by which we work with God to become more like Jesus. All of them describe the fact that this process can be challenging and at the time is not always easy or fully understood.
Peter talks about the testing or refining that happens to metal when it is heated up in a furnace so that the dross or impurities are burnt away to leave the pure metal. Peter equates this to what was happening in the church at the time. They were under pressure, they were suffering. This was for their good so that they may become purer. The pressure we are under causes imperfections to come to the surface so that they can be dealt with. Insecurities, fears, unhelpful emotions such as anger and rage, desire for control which may have been unnoticed suddenly surface and can be dealt with.
1 Peter 412 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
Jesus says something similar using the image of pruning, so that we may become more fruitful.
John 151“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.
The writer to the Hebrews quoting from the book of Proverbs to describe the discipleship process as similar to a loving Father disciplining his son. At the time it does not feel pleasant but it for our good.
Hebrews 125 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
These different perspectives create this overall picture of the difficulties and challenges we face are used by God to help us grow. These are important truths for us to embrace as we face different challenges associated with the restrictions and the uncertainties of the current pandemic. God is using the circumstances to refine us, prune us, mature us. We may not fully understand what he is doing, but he is at work and we will come to understand. We shouldn’t be surprised. He is our loving caring Father.