Comfort for the Tried Believer

I have chosen thee in a furnace of affliction
– Isaiah 48: 10

Comfort yourself, tried believer, with this thought: God says, ‘I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction’, Doesn’t the word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Isn’t it an asbestos armour, against which the heat has no power? Let affliction come – God has chosen me. Poverty, you may stride in at my door, but God is in the house already, and He has chosen me. Sickness, you may intrude, but I have a balsam ready – God has chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this vale of tears, I know that He has ‘chosen’ me. If, believer, you require still greater comfort, remember that you have the Son of Man with you in the furnace. In that silent bedroom of yours, there sits by your side One whom you haven’t seen, but whom you love; and often when you don’t know it, He makes all your bed in your affliction, and smooths your pillow for you. You are in poverty; but in that lonely house of yours the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor. He loves to come into these desolate places, so he can visit you. Your friend sticks close to you. You can’t see him, but you may feel the pressure of his hands. Don’t you hear his voice? Even in the valley of the shadow of death He says, ‘Fear not, I am with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God.’ Remember that noble speech of Caesar: ‘Fear not, you carry Caesar and all his fortune.’ ‘Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with you’, is His sure word of promise to His chosen ones in the ‘furnace of affliction’. Won’t you, then, take a firm grip of Christ, and say:

Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,
I’ll follow where he goes.

– C.H. Spurgeon (am March 3)

Sometimes Christians can focus too much on the love of God and forget about the just God who must deal with sin. Other times, we can be the opposite, focusing on the judgement of God and his coming wrath. These words by Spurgeon really show how important it is sometimes to think about how much God does really love us. We’re living in a world that would laugh at this, and call us fools, but then again we must remember what Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with
words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but
to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is
written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the
intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher
of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the
wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased
through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews
demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ
crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those
whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the
wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the
weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

– 1 Corinthians 1:17-25

Isn’t it amazing, that even though the gospel sounds so foolish to unbelievers (and sometimes to us if we’re honest) – God has decided it to be that way.

Thanks for reading,

Dan

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