The word affliction is defined as “a condition of pain, suffering, or distress." Of course, our flesh wants us to run in the other direction when we hear the word or see it on the horizon. The problem is we’re usually in the midst of affliction before we know what has hit us.
"See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”
When the Lord put this word in my heart, I wasn’t quite sure what He would mean. My life has not always been an easy one, but I have lived in comfort, security, and in good health. In a whirlwind of time, physical or emotional pain has stricken every member of my household.
My teenage son was injured in a game of tag, which three months later, left him with a concussion that doctors still could not explain. My teenage daughter, who has been an A/B Honor Roll student all of her life, was struggling to pass her classes and it was taking an emotional toll on her. My youngest son, who brings a lot of joy and life wherever he goes, was dealing with sadness; as parents, we were trying to help him maneuver through his emotions. My husband recently had gone through some changes that were difficult on him physically and emotionally. I assessed my own life and started picking apart everything that was going wrong. I got on my knees in my closet crying, asking God how much more I could stand. I began to pray against the enemy, declaring that he had no authority over me or my home. There, in the quiet, amidst my tears, I heard… “You are being refined.”
How had I missed it? I was looking at all this pain and suffering as a punishment. Instead, I realized it was for our own good. Proverbs 17: 3 says
“The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.”
We will never be perfect (as in silver or gold), but God is purifying our hearts into the vessels that He wants. The Lord was making us all more beautiful and like Him by refining us through the furnace of affliction. My entire family has been growing in the Lord in ways I have never seen in them. I have been amazed at the worshipful attitudes through their pain and the love in their hearts. I am not saying all ailments and pain are a refining process. What I can attest to is my attitude toward those suffering is different. I want to sit with them, pray with them, and give them encouragement to persevere.
Friend, sometimes it’s hard to reach out and tell someone all that’s going on in our lives. Knowing you have a God that hears and cares about your every whimper is priceless. If you are hurting right now, physically, emotionally, or spiritually… Take this time to seek the Lord and ask Him if there is a refining process that He needs to bring you through. The fire is hot, but it’s not unbearable with a friend.
Cheering you on,