Discovering Your Strength
Isaiah 48:10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
As uncomfortable as the furnace may be it is often the womb for a newer, stronger, wiser version of you. We delight ourselves in knowing that God will fight our battles, lift us above adversity, and cause weapons to be of no avail; but we should not deceive ourselves by believing there will be no storms, no trials, no furnaces, and no afflictions. On the contrary, there will be plenty.
David says in Psalm 119: 71, "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees/commands." Affliction has the ability to teach on every subject, it covers all principles, and it trains on every level. It is no surprise that God uses the furnace of affliction to see if we are able to handle greater responsibilities. Whether those responsibilities are church, society, or family related, typically the one that can withstand is the one that leads.
The next time there is an unusual amount of trouble, chaos, or trials consider maybe you are being watched from a higher place for greater purposes. We often pray to do great things while avoiding the processes that stretch our capacity for great. I, like David, can look back and say that it was absolutely necessary and good that I was afflicted. My furnace was also the womb for greater love, patience, integrity, trust, and accountability. Every furnace I've experienced has produced a greater me and changed my perspective of trouble. A few weeks back we discussed 'Peace/Tranquility' and I can share with you today, that the furnace taught me how to sit in peace, stand in peace, speak in peace, and love with peace. There is no greater teacher for learning to trust and lean on God as the furnace of affliction. It is in that place we face our fears, uncertainties, and doubt; but it is also in that place that God reveals His intent to protect and keep us.
If you have just come out of an affliction consider how you endured it and learn from it. If you are in a furnace of affliction now let me offer three very simple, profound, affirming confessions:
1. It's ok.
2. You're not by yourself.
3. You will make it through this.
Last, if you are just entering an unfavorable season, just remember that greater is on the other side. The furnace often feels like it is exposing all of our weaknesses when, in fact, it is revealing all of our strengths. Blessings!