Tested In The Furnace of Affliction

See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction
Isaiah 48:10, NIV

Those are definitely no-brainers, for sure. But now let me ask you this. How would you like to volunteer to entertain great pain and suffering? "Who in his right mind would say yes to pain and suffering", you ask? The truth is, if it is the desire of our heart toexperience intimacy with Jesus and know what is the depth of His love, joy and peace, then we in turn, have opened the Door for God to come in, and work as He wills in our lives

God will see to it that we have our fair share of time in the furnace of affliction, in order that our imperfections be burned off. If we are to know first hand the things mentioned above, then we will be constrained to embrace pain and suffering without hesitation, and that with our whole hearts.

There is no other way around it

Wouldn't it be great if God just zapped us instantly into the person He wants us to become, and thereby by-pass this pain and suffering thing altogether? And couldn't our character be shaped just as well, if instead we were tested by a life of ease and comfort? I am here to say, it doesn't work that way. Growth, as with all things, happens over time. And this kind of growth only takes place as the heat is turned up.

The good news is we don't have to endure the process alone, Jesus is right there with us. In fact, what we are going through in the way of trials can be labeled more accurately as, "the fellowship of His sufferings for we read,That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship {partnership} of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death
Php 3:10

It is in the fire that character is shaped and faith raises to the surface. In fact if you think about it, 'trials are the food on which faith thrives.'

It takes time and the help of the Holy Spirit to come to the place where we can accept the Refiner's fire as a blessing. The fire may be hot and we may not feel comfortable, but isn't it great to know that all the while we are going through it God is perfecting a good work in us. Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Php 1:6

One of the by-products that emerges as a result of this "good work" is that the brethren are strengthened as they witness our perseverance and the faithfulness of God as evidenced by those who have made it through to the other side. The Apostle Paul stated, if we suffer, it is for your consolation and salvation
(2Co 1:6). I like what George Mueller wrote about this:

I will wait and see what good God will do to me by it, assured He will do it. Thus we shall bear an honorable testimony before the world, and thus we shall strengthen the hands of others.

We need not fear the pain associated with the furnace of affliction, why? Because we have the promise of God, that He will be right there with us. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee
(Isa 43:2) And not only will Jesus be with us but we have His grace, that divine anesthesia of the soul (2Co 12:9), enabling us to look beyond the pain, to behold the "glory that is to be revealed in us at Christ's return."

The Book of Genesis Chapter 41 records for us the birth of two sons to Joseph's. At first glance we might easily read over the significance of this passage. Joseph named one son, Manasseh, meaning "forgetting", For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil. This is exactly what happens when a person decides to walk with God while in the midst of great difficulty. The blessings are so abundant and rich that he forgets about the pain associated with the trial.

The other son Joseph named, Ephraim, which means "fruitful." Joseph said, For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. Yes Joseph was now able to see the fruit God was able to bring out of his trials and suffering, and as a result he was also able to forget the pain of the moment. We too can have this assurance as we stand on the Word of God and act in faith. I know it is an over quoted verse, but I love it anyways, for it still remains true to this day, and that is, - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8:28-29

As we allow God to conform us more and more to the image of His Son, we can't help but feel indebted to Him for all that He is accomplishing. The very pain that is unleashed during the trials that are used to bring about our change, will seem to us insignificant; knowing what we suffer is only our rightful contribution to the filling up of what remains lacking in the sufferings of Christ (Col 1:24).

However, we must see this through the eyes of faith. The faith of which I am attesting to has "nothing to do with feelings, or with impressions, with improbabilities, or with outward appearances. If we desire to couple them with faith, then we are no longer resting on the Word of God because faith needs nothing of the kind. Faith rests on the naked Word of God. When we take Him at His Word, the heart is at peace.

I would like to leave you with this short excerpt from the writings of Elisabeth Elliot entitled,
"Invisible Blessings."

Being very much of the earth-earthy-we always want tangible, visible things--proofs, demonstrations, something to latch onto. If we always had them, of course, faith would be "struck blind."

When Jesus hung on a cross, the challenge was flung at Him: Come down! He stayed nailed, not so that spectatorswould be satisfied (that miracle, his coming down, would have been a great crowd-pleaser), but that the world might be saved.

Many of our prayers are directed toward the quick and easy solution. Long-suffering is sometimes the only means by which the greater glory of God will be served, and this is, for the moment, invisible. We must persist in faith. God has a splendid purpose. Believe in order to see it.

Our troubles are slight and short-lived, and their outcome
an eternal glory which outweighs them far. Meanwhile our
eyes are fixed, not on the things that are seen, but on the
things that are unseen
2Cor 4:17,18 NEB



May God grant you His peace 
If I can be of any assistance
please don't hesitate to drop me a line.

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