Standing strong in the furnace
Sooner or later, we all face seasons of trial and tears, when we have to stand in the furnace of life and know disappointment, tragedy, even defeat. Being a Christian does not insure you against all that. Jesus said, “in this world you will have trouble….” (John 16:33)
Neh 8:10 “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Its what we do, how we react in that season of trial, that determines the outcome. If we have the right attitude, if we know how to stand strong in faith, we will overcome every adversity and trial. If not, those trials will overwhelm us and cause us to end up with less than God’s best.
Nehemiah sensed, by the Spirit of the Lord, that the people had lost hope and he said to them: “do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Those words, “do not grieve” literally mean “do not carve or fabricate out of your situation worry and fear!” The people had lost hope and had become so discouraged by all that was going on that they lost sight of God’s plan and purpose, God’s mighty promises. And because they grieved, they lost their strength and courage to face the challenges before them.
Whatever happens, we need to remember that we serve a mighty God, a God who fights for us and always delivers us out of the hand of the enemy. There is no shadow or turning in Him. We have to learn to rejoice in the knowledge of God, of who He is, of what He has declared, His plan and purpose for our lives. Just because we are in the furnace, just because things are not going our way, just because we do not see the promises of God coming to pass in our lives right now, doesn’t mean that God has given up or that the battle is over or the dreams are dead.
No, God is at work and He is present even in the furnace times of our lives. In fact, at those times, His presence is stronger than ever! That’s why the Bible can declare, “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God….” (Isa 43:2-3).
And remember: this too shall pass away. Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (Ps 30:5). There is a daybreak coming and the sun will shine through again. God is on the throne and His purpose for you, for me, for the whole earth, will prevail.
So in the midst of the furnace, rejoice in the Lord and your strength will come back to you, hope will return, faith will rise again. You are an overcomer. You are more than conqueror. You are able to stand in the furnace and come out stronger, more determined, humbled but not broken, with a song in your heart that nothing or no one can take away.