“I will bring that group through the fire & make them pure.
I will refine them like silver & purify them like gold.”
We will be brought through the fire.
By God himself.
That sounds sick & twisted.
He says no, though. That this is the trick by which he makes us pure. This is the same as the battle of time, something we can’t dance around. He says I will bring you through the fire & that is the magic, darling. You want to be the fullest, most wild you I have created you to be?
Let me walk you through the fire.
Let me take you through the flames.
Extreme conditions produce extreme results. A six pack doesn’t come by simply cutting out the cola. A diamond can’t decide to rig the process & just say hey if I throw myself against the dirt as hard as I can I bet I can cut these years in half. Nope. Timing is everything. Process is important.
Here are the coals, love. Follow after me. Here is my hand to hold. Each step is purifying & renewing & best. This is the discomfort that uncovers. This is where you find yourself. Where you find me. Where you trust me.
A couple Sundays ago the wounds were even fresher & I sat on the end of that pew brushing shoulders with my sister. That was when the woman walked the isle to the pulpit & began to pray.
“Lord, use us in this season. We want to be used by you.”
My eyes spring open to these words & I am all but committed to this prayer, gaze shifting towards the ceiling, shaking my head, “This is their prayer, Lord. Not mine.” Does this lady have any idea what she is asking for? I mean really. Though the congregation seems just as oblivious, as their amens & hallelujahs & praise the Lord’s fill the room.
I think to myself, Lord, forgive them, they are currently ignorant to hardship. Take it from someone who is walking through hell, walking through the fire. Let me tell you what my prayers look a little more like.
If you could cut me some slack, Lord.
If you could dress me this morning, Lord.
If you could give me severe memory loss, Lord.
The fire is contradictory. We are all feeling it, the same fire. The same Holy Spirit. & though the burn is consistent, our comfort level & tolerance is what is so seasonal. When our loved one dies & relationships are haywire & our life seems to be spiraling backward, the fire hurts. It’s uncomfortable. It’s hot to the souls of our feet. & somehow, the same fire that burns the same bones brings such an overwhelming awe that we cannot help but shout of his goodness & tell of his love. Same fire. Same flames. Different sides. Somehow, Lord use me isn’t on the tip of my tongue at the moment. Maybe, Lord heal me. Lord find me. Lord pick me up my feet hurt. & you know something?
The fire will do that, too.
The men were under pressure, people around them catering to the king, falling to their knees in worship. The officials were on patrol, taking note of the king’s command & the people’s obedience. All but three. Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego knew what it felt like to be engulfed by the flames. Do you think they were comfortable causing such a stir, boldly disobeying the king before a body of people, some of which I’m sure they had become familiar with? They felt the coals below their feet, as the king became enraged by their refusing to bow down to him, throwing them into a furnace that he had raised the temperature so high in that the guards who had to throw them in died instantly. & there they stood, all four of them. There, in the place they could’ve become martyrs like so many before & after them, God met them in the flames. (DANIEL 3)
Maybe this is everywhere & maybe none of it makes sense. But you know something? Someday, I pray it will. I pray when you’re living hell on earth, when all the pieces seem to fall apart instead of falling together, & when everything you ever thought was stable seems to have lost touch with gravity, I pray you remember me & this day when I promised you the fire is all the same. I pray you have that moment like many moments before where the pieces suddenly fit & you tell yourself “that’s what she meant”. & somehow, in that day, I hope this finds you well, reminding you of a deeper hope to cling to, the anchor that grounds us. God is the same yesterday, today, & tomorrow, & even though today seems like a lost battle, Jesus is still king. & most of all, my dear, God is walking you through those flames. This is not the end, but a new beginning, because when you reach the tides reeling over your toes & you hear the waves come like peaceful breaths, you’ll find more. More God. More you. More gold. I promise.