“I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” (Isa. 48:10.)
DOES not the Word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yes, is it not an asbestos armor, against which the heat has no power? Let the affliction come—God has chosen me. Poverty, thou mayest stride in at my door; but God is in the house already, and He has chosen me. Sickness, thou mayest intrude; but I have a balsam ready—God has chosen me. Whatever befall me in this vale of tears, I know that He has chosen me.
Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with thee. In all thy fiery trials, His presence is both thy comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own. “Fear not, for I am with thee,” is His sure word of promise to His chosen ones in “the furnace of affliction.”—C. H. Spurgeon.
Pain’s furnace heat within me quivers, God’s breath upon the flame doth blow; And all my heart in anguish shivers And trembles at the fiery glow; And yet I whisper, “As God will!” And in the hottest fire hold still. He comes and lays my heart, all heated, On the hard anvil, minded so Into His own fair shape to beat it With His great hammer, blow on blow; And yet I whisper, “As God will!” And at His heaviest blows hold still. He takes my softened heart and beats it; The sparks fly off at every blow; He turns it o’er and o’er and heats it, And lets it cool, and makes it glow; And yet I whisper, “As God will!” And in His mighty hand hold still. Why should I murmur? for the sorrow Thus only longer-lived would be; The end may come, and will tomorrow, When God has done His work in me; So I say trusting, “As God will!” And, trusting to the end, hold still.
The burden of suffering seems a tombstone hung about our necks, while in reality it is only the weight which is necessary to keep down the diver while he is hunting for pearls.—Richter.