The Furnace

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I turned down the radio. The song seemed trite, and I have no space or grace for trite right now. The cool fall air had been hijacked by a warm front that left me feeling robbed of the one mercy I felt my postpartum body deserved: the wonderful, crisp, cool air of fall.  My annoyance over this detail beat in rhythm to the random hot flashes I had been experiencing, subject to a body that still hasn’t fully realized there is no baby left to serve. The tears that silently fell down my cheeks actually felt cool, almost refreshing. Grief and brokenness make for a garment not easily cast off; the only way out is through.

“Focus. Focus on your driving. Don’t let your mind wander.” I find myself repeating that often right now as I taxi about. The music playing softly in the background seemed to register again, just for a moment, one stanza, God being with them in the furnace or something…

Everything stilled as I sat at the stop sign and thought of Jesus standing with me in this fire.

I heard that sweet, small voice of the Holy Spirit melodiously beat through my mind with a reminder of an incredible promise.

He is with me. In every fire, in every trial, He promises I am not alone.  It can’t consume me; it won’t destroy me. Instead He will draw me ever more deeply into His presence.  I will walk out of this fire, and no smoke will hold fast to me. Instead, only his sweetness will remain.

The gift is not in seeing God say yes to all we ask. The gift is in getting Him.

The most incredible gifts aren’t on the mountain tops.

The most incredible gifts of God are found in the valleys, in the hard spaces and places that threaten to destroy us.

It is in those seasons that we are invited to press into our Creator, where we stand most aware of our weakness and our desperate need for a Savior.

And it is only then, in that sacred space, that we begin to taste and see just how incredible He truly is.

It is then that we begin to learn to trust Him.

When the fiery furnaces come, the enemy wants us to believe the lie that we won’t be ok. It is the same lie that marks the birth place of every fear.  Yet, the God who made us, invites us, provides the very breath in our lungs right now, promises He has us–He will carry us, and He can be trusted. Sometimes the miracle is watching God create and sustain life, and sometimes the miracle is experiencing Him carry you through the fire and then use it in ways unfathomable.

May I echo the words of Paul, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

And like Job, may I finally be able to say, “Even though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.”

Of this I am certain: the words of Paul and Job are birthed out of an intimacy with God so deep and sweet that one must journey through the valley to understand their weight and their truth.

I have only just begun to learn of a trust so ruthless, so profoundly rapturous, that I will forever be able to say, “I am His.”  And I will rest right now in the sweetest of promises that this life is but a breath, and it is not the end of the story.

 

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