The Choosing Place!
(John MacDuff, "The Rainbow in the Clouds")
"I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction!" Isaiah 48:10
The furnace of affliction! It is God's meeting place with His people.
"I have chosen you," says He, "in the furnace of affliction. I will keep you there, until the purifying process is complete; and if need be, in a 'chariot of fire' I will carry you to heaven!"
Some fires are for destruction, but this is for purification.
He, the Refiner, is sitting by the furnace regulating the flames, tempering the heat; not the least filing of the gold but what is precious to Him!
The bush is burning with fire, but He is in the middle of it; a living God in a bush; a living Savior in the furnace!
And has this not been the method of His dealing with His faithful people in every age.
First, trial — then blessing.
First, difficulties — then deliverances.
First, Egyptian plagues, darkness, brick kilns, the Red Sea, forty years of desert privations — then Canaan!
First, the burning fiery furnace — then the vision of "one like the Son of God!"
Or, as with Elijah on Carmel, the answer is first by fire, and then byrain.
First, the fiery trial, then the gentle descent of the Spirit's influences, coming down like "rain upon the mown grass, and as showers that water the earth."
Believer! be it yours to ask, "are my trials sanctified?"
Are they making me holier, purer, better, more meek, more gentle, more heavenly-minded, more Savior-like?
Seek to "glorify God in the fires."
Patience is a grace which the angels cannot manifest.
Patience is a flower of earth; it blooms not in Paradise; it requires tribulation for its exercise; it is nurtured only amid wind, and hail, and storm.
By patient, unmurmuring submission, remember, you, a poor sinner, can thus magnify God in a way the loftiest angelic natures cannot do!
His design is to purge away your dross, to bring you forth from the furnace reflecting His own image, and fitted for glory!
Those intended for great usefulness are much in the refining pot.
"His children have found suffering times happy times. They never have such nearness to their Father, such holy freedom with Him, and such heavenly refreshment with Him, as under the cross!"