Monday, August 21, 2017

Week Thirty - The Furnace of Affliction

Beside the Well
            No one likes hard times.  We usually fear them.  We don’t like the unknown or feeling out of control. We especially don’t like being vulnerable. 
            However, in Christ we don’t have to fear.  We can go through hard times with an upheld head.
            Commenting on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace, Charles Spurgeon calls attention to the fact that God was also in the furnace as he wrote, “As sure as God puts His children in the furnace He will be in the furnace with them.” 
            His name is Immanuel – God with us.  We need to remember that in every trial our Immanuel is with us.  We are not alone. 
            As I faced radiotherapy last year I recorded in my journal, “I have so much for which to be thankful – it makes me feel irritated that I am even concerned about this upcoming treatment.  From all I read it is going to knock out my energy.  I am feeling so good that I hate to return to being weak.  But, if that is the path God has for me I will survive much better by relaxing into the path He has for me at this time.  Health will return more quickly if I don’t resist and allow emotional frustration to rob me of joy and hope.  The storm on the outside will reveal what is on the inside – and inside is a happy motivated person who is sure of God’s love and care, but one who is simply fearful of the unknown process that lies ahead.”
From there I went on in my journal to list truths that must reign in my heart as I face my fear of the unknown:
1)   God is already there. 
2)   Fear is a waste of energy.
3)   My times are in His hands. 
4)   He sees every day in its entirety. I can only do moment by moment.  So, I need to relax and do today leaving tomorrow to Him.
5)   Through all of this— He should have the glory.
            Surely those truths were deep in the heart of the Hebrew children as they faced the furnace.  Isaiah 48:10 says, “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”  They must have known it was a trial of their faith.  They wanted to pass the test so they acted in courage instead of fear.
            The furnace of affliction need not be feared—God is with us through every affliction to accomplish a purpose.  We truly come out the better as we realise this truth and face our afflictions.
 “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.“  I Peter 5:10-11
            To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 


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