There is not a person on Earth who feels they have never “gone through some fire” in life. For Christians, we call this “the testing of our faith” and it can mean that life has become too much to bear. Faith is defined as: “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1). In essence, it is the very reason why we can believe in a God that we have never seen upfront and personal and have confidence that His Son Jesus, Our Hope and Saviour, will come back for us at the end of time.
We are also told that this same faith should be used as part of our spiritual armour in this world:- “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). This means that other than just removing the problems we face (EXTINGUISHING the flaming arrows), it should act as a BARRIER of protection against the hot and unfavourable conditions applied by the evil one. Quite like what Thermal Barrier Coatings (TBC) do for aircraft engine blades.
Aircraft engine blades, made of superalloys, operate at high temperatures of around 1250 °C and for durations greater than 10,000 hours! (If you hadn’t noticed, the Ephesians verse does not mention how long the enemy would be firing flaming darts- we’d better hope we have a good shield). The diagram above shows an “input cooling air flow”, which is keeping the nickel superalloy substrate of the turbine blade cool. On the other hand, the “insulating Thermal Barrier Coating” is in direct contact with the expanded gases directly after combustion of the aircraft fuel (that high temperature mentioned before).
We as humans are like the superalloy, we do well at being us when our lives are going well and all is cool… But as people we are good thermal conductors and when the temperature gets too hot we start to creep, then crack and eventually rupture. We need our faith in Jesus Christ, the ONLY One who can offer us hope when life seems like hell and fire even when we can not see Him, we must sense Him. The only thing that can help us to use this shield of faith and believe in its effectiveness is a strong relationship with Christ (see bond coat in diagram). As we draw near to Him, He draws near to us (James 4:8a), our faith becomes stronger and hence our shield more effective at protecting us from the fiery arrows of the enemy.
Please visit this website: http://www.virginia.edu/ms/research/wadley/high-temp.html for more information on TBCs.