“I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering!” Isaiah 48:10
The love of Jesus will not preserve His people from trials–but rather, assures them of trials! All whom He loves–He chastens! He has a furnace to purge our dross, and refine our souls. His Word and the Spirit reveal to us our defilement and impurity–and His grace and providence co-operate to remove them. “I am the Lord God who sanctifies you.”
It is divine love which . . .
prepares the furnace,
kindles the flame,
brings the Christian into it,
superintends the whole process, and
brings him out as gold, seven times purified!
“From all your filthiness and from all your idols, I will cleanse you!” He cleanses them in the laver of the Word by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit. But He also cleanses them by a variety of afflictive dispensations, through which He causes them to pass.
Our sin calls for trials–His love sends them!
Our nature repines at trials–but grace submits to them!
Our corruption is enraged at trials–but the Spirit sanctifies them to our good, and our Savior’s glory.
He makes His people choice ones–in the “furnace of affliction!” He says, “I will put you into the fire–and will purge away your dross.”
Believer, never repine at your trials, nor be over-anxious for their removal. They are appointed by Jesus as your Purifier–and are choice blessings in disguise!
Seek their sanctification,
wrestle with God that you may see His love in every stroke, and
look to Jesus that you may enjoy His presence when passing through the flame!
Nothing can hurt you–while Jesus is near you; and He is never nearer to you–than when you are in the furnace! For He sits right there as the Refiner . . .
watching the process,
regulating the heat, and
waiting to effect a gracious deliverance–when the ends of His love are answered.
He is only preparing you for fresh manifestations of His glory–and fitting you for larger communications of His love.
In the furnace, you will lose nothing that is worth keeping–but you will obtain what is truly valuable!
The flesh and the soul need constant cleansings–for corruption is so deeply rooted in our nature, that it takes a long and painful process to purge it out! But in reference to the furnace, your Lord says, “The Lord did this to purge Israel’s wickedness, to take away all her sin!”