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The Furnace of Suffering | Tara Wiley
S~ I have refined you, but not as silver is refined – Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering. I will rescue you for my sake – yes, for my own sake. I will not let my reputation be tarnished, and I will not share my glory with idols. Isaiah 48:10-11 (NLT)
O~ Sometimes the answer to “Why do bad things happen to good people?” is “Refining.”
A~ Every muscle fiber, every hair follicle hurt. I could feel the blood pulsing through the veins in my skull, and I actually tried to will my heart to beat slower. Once again, the tears spilled silently down my cheeks, and I had to focus on breathing so I would not sob – because sobbing hurt too much.
The doctors were stymied. My husband was frustrated. I felt utterly defeated.
Once upon a time, I envisioned a future filled with speaking, performing, and writing. Now a successful week involved not having to cancel my children’s school and music lessons due to my illness… managing to drive them to said events without having to spend the rest of the afternoon in bed (a true rarity)… and perhaps, if I were lucky, playing the violin a little at church (and actually remembering it afterwards).
Honestly, I didn’t even have the the emotional energy to ask why. All I could ask was “Help,” and struggle not to feel the burden of a constant “I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry I can’t play with my kids.”
“I’m sorry I can’t keep a clean home, prepare nice meals, go out on a date…”
“I’m sorry I’m such a drag…such a disappointment.”
The worst of it was not knowing the future. Would this half-living be the new normal – forever? I couldn’t even imagine existing like this for a few more years, let alone the rest of my life.
I was no longer the talented wise young woman with such potential. I was a dying old lady in a 36 year old body.
And so I came to the Lord, broken, full of “I’m sorry’s,” feeling I had nothing left to offer… feeling like such a disappointment. Surely HE must feel that way.
I sank into a hot bath one afternoon, desperate for relief, with my iPad on the ledge beside me. I needed encouragement, and on a whim I went to YouTube and looked up Misty Edwards. She sang God’s heart to me. (If you cannot see video below, click HERE)
“I knew what I was getting into when I called you,
“I knew what I was getting into when I said your name, and I said it just the same…
“I am not shocked by your weakness…even by your sin…by your brokenness…and I still want you… and I still like you… and I still chose you…
“Only I can see the end from the beginning… and only I can see where this is going…”
I had next to nothing left to offer. Self sufficient? No. Strong? not even a little. Potential? A blank page.God had already chiseled away at my self righteousness. Now He allowed this suffering to do a deeper work, a removal of pride, a removal of my own ideas of success.
Success was newly defined:
– clinging to Jesus and His approval even when I couldn’t perform for Him.
– resting – TRULY resting – on His promises AND NOTHING ELSE.
“I will not share my glory with idols.”I had made myself and my dreams, my accomplishments past and future, my abilities, my service… my ACTIONS… idols.
“I will rescue you for My sake.”Before the healing, He began the rescuing. Right there in that bathroom. Right in that moment when I realized that His calling was not lost. It was new.
P~ I don’t know that I did it right, Lord, that season You called me to of Holy Inactivity. I’m pretty sure I got caught up in a lot of mindless distraction. And I bet I still have many lessons to learn about how to be fruitful in stillness.But I know
that I know
that I know
that I know
that Your approval sings and resonates over and through me even when I have nothing to offer in return.
that fulfillment isn’t necessarily found in the doing, but rather in the being, whether still or in motion.
Your refining is worth it,
Your rescue is complete,
Your glory is my one desire.Thank You for loving me enough to refine me.
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