“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10 KJV
It is a strange verse to use when introducing the promises of God but I feel it incumbent upon me to not sugar coat what we face in our day to day life. Since we all have diverse issues that we are dealing with, I want us to be reminded that God is using all our afflictions for His glory. So whether they are to refine us or to refine those around us, we can rest in the fact our Heavenly Father has chosen them all.
I also want to emphasize that it may not be easy to swallow that we have been chosen by God for a furnace of affliction. We, His children find ourselves more often than not in situations that are uncomfortable, uneasy and many a times, unbearable.
I do not have an answer as to why or for how long, but I do know that Abba is a loving Father, and I find hope that we all can find lasting comfort, knowing His ocean of love for each of us allows and caters to our afflictions.
Finally on this prelude, we can rest assured that His nature throughout scripture, the passages of time and personal experience point to His love and compassion.
Let’s dig in…
Comfort can be defined as receiving consolation, support, encouragement, reassurance, soothing, relief.
Barnabas – Son of Consolation, Son of Exhortation and Son of Comfort
This morning, I woke up feeling down. I began thinking about all the bills I have and the paycheck to match. My emotions felt strained. My heart felt heavy. I felt like I was in a fog. Mentally, I’m aware of the God of comfort and am able to lean on His promises however for some reason, reading the Word wasn’t “digging” to the core of my heart. The Lord understood all this and sent me a “Barnabas” in the form of my boss who knew absolutely nothing of how I felt. She began to share with me how she too, was facing a financial ordeal and how the Lord miraculously sent someone to her home who gave her an unexpected check. Just like that the Lord blessed her with resources. Her call to me to share her good news did not erase the bills I still had due, but, I was left with the encouragement I needed to press on during this season of “affliction”. The fog was lifted. This friends is an example of our God of all comfort. He gives us comfort through His scripture and each other.
We all have a role to play in this process. When we need comfort, we should ensure that we first look to the God of comfort to grant us the comfort. We can also make use of the Body He has given us. Our spouses, our relatives, our small groups, the local body of believers- they are all around to help us put one step in front of the other. I don’t believe it should just end there though. Just because we are in a season of “need” does not give us the right to withhold from others, especially when it is our power to give.
Many people confuse and ascribe the word giving with a monetary donation but it is so far more than that. We can give something as simple as: a smile, a hug, a phone call, an offer to babysit, run an errand, do the laundry, listen, Drum roll: A word of encouragement. Remember, comfort comes in all different shapes and sizes. To add, I’ve found that when I give encouragement willingly, I miraculously receive joy too.
Let us remember what Paul admonished to the Corinthians in verses 3 through 7 of the first chapter of the second letter.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto us, even so our comfort also aboundeth through Christ. But whether we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which worketh in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: and our hope for you is stedfast; knowing that, as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also are ye of the comfort.”
Final note: Each of us have varying degrees of comfort we need. For some including me, it’s comfort knowing that my financial setback is not too big for God to handle. For others, it’s knowing sickness will not “always” have the final say. Yet still for others, it is knowing that the death of a loved one does not separate them from the embrace of God. Let us keep digging into the Word because we can’t shine (for God and others) neither will we survive our trials (even Jesus needed to pull from the Word to deal with the devil during His tests) if our lamp is empty.
Until next time remember, His Promises are our Guarantee…🙌🏽