I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
Comfort yourself, tried believer, with this thought: God says, "I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" [KJV]. Does not the Word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yea, is it not a protective shield, 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 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 chamber of yours, there sits by your side One whom you have not seen, but whom you love; and often when you do not know it, He comforts you in your affliction and softens the place of rest. You are in poverty; but in your lovely house the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor. He loves to come into these desolate places, that He may visit you. Your friend sticks closely to you. You cannot see Him, but you may feel the pressure of His hands. Do you not hear His voice? Even in the valley of the shadow of death He says, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God."1
Remember that noble speech of Caesar: "Fear not, you carry Caesar and all his fortune." Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with you. In all your difficult trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own. "Fear not, for I am with you" is His sure word of promise to His chosen ones in the "furnace of affliction." Will you not, then, take hold of Christ and say:
Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,
I'll follow where He goes.
1) Isaiah 41:10
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.