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Ten years ago, the furnace of affliction burned hotter than normal. Suddenly a single parent, my life became a waking nightmare. I cried myself to sleep every night. My daughters were living with sorrow that manifested itself in various destructive ways. My body was failing. Some days I struggled to even dress myself. I didn’t know who to confide in, and I doubted if talking would help anyway. No one could fix this for me. No one could fix any of it.
And today, though I’m not in a season of that kind of intense pain, people whom I love are suffering. How can they endure? How did I endure?
God - Fire - Flames - Life - God
God refines us in the fire. The flames in our life sanctify us and draw us to God in ways that nothing else can. We emerge with a stronger faith and an unrivalled dependence on him. But the process isn’t easy.
In the furnace of affliction, I often feel like I can’t go on. I wonder how I can keep going when I don’t see an end. I wonder how I can endure with grace when the heat is almost smothering me. What does the Christian life look like in the furnace?
Air - Smoke - Moment - Moment - Breath
I struggle to breathe. I wonder if I’m going to get air or if the smoke is going to suffocate me. It’s moment to moment. Breath to breath. I can’t think about the future in the furnace. All I can do is pray I’ll survive.
I know God is my only hope, so I need to engage with him. As I look around, no one else is inhaling thick smoky air, so they can’t understand how panicked I’m feeling. I wonder if I’ll ever breathe freely again. I’m not sure if God will ever deliver me.
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