I’ve been in one of God’s waiting rooms for a couple of months now regarding my part of our family income. I am trying to sit quietly and listen for His voice saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” but I am simply not hearing His voice and, to be honest with you, I am getting a little impatient.
I am in the book of Jeremiah right now (Yep. The Weeping Prophet) and I wanted to cross reference a verse in Isaiah about being tested and refined “in the furnace of affliction.” As I flipped to the page, my eyes fell on a passage that I had underlined when I was in that book:
“This is what the Lord says – Your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
Obviously, God is speaking to the Israelites through these two prophets, spelling out the trouble that was coming to them because they had not been faithful to Him – but I saw this, also, in the reverse. This is the unchanging God who teaches ME what is best for me and directs ME in the way I should go.
- Is it not, then, probable to assume that IF I pay attention to His commands, I will have peace like a river and righteousness like the waves of the sea?
Yes, I know that much of the Old Testament is specific to the Israelites, but I also know that “ALL scripture is given by God, and is useful for teaching…and training in righteousness” so that I might be equipped to do what is right. If He would take the time to show me this verse, then today it was written just for me.
As I spoke to my friend Stacy on the phone a little later, I mentioned the verse that I had cross referenced about refinement, and told her a story that I had heard about some women in a Bible Study wanting to better understand why God uses the analogy of silver refinement so often. They made an appointment with a local silversmith and went in to watch him work. With a careful eye, he kept the silver in the flame until all of the impurities were gone, explaining that he could not take his eyes off of it for a second because if it was in the flame too long, it would be ruined. He showed them that when all of the impurities had been burned off, he could see his reflection in it – that is when he knew that it was ready.
“God puts us into the furnace of affliction in order to bring all of our impurities to the surface and be skimmed off,” I went on to say. “The goal is to be able to see His reflection in us.”
Though I was the one talking, God was turning these words back into my own ears.
I am trying to accept this waiting room as an opportunity to be refined. A chance for impurity to be removed from my life, and for my faith to grow. I am already seeing how God has provided in small ways…
This morning, an old song popped into my mind. It is about God’s provision for our salvation, but these words played over and over in my mind all morning, and I sang outloud as I did my work:
He’ll give us strength to simply trust Him through times we may not understand;
We will gain a sweet assurance no passing doubt can dim.
Our lives are safely in His hand.
Though countless souls have come to Him, so desperate and lost;
with faith no greater than a tiny seed,
Each one has found a wondrous truth beneath His simple cross:
His grace is greater than our need.
 Isaiah 30:21
 2 Timothy 3:16-17