Near the end of Chapter 11 of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, Timothy Keller lists seven lessons we can learn in the furnace of suffering:
1. Finding out who we are, our strengths and weaknesses. We must be tested in order to truly understand ourselves.
2. Becoming a compassionate person who reaches out to others who are hurting. There is no way to empathize with other suffering people unless we have walked that road before them.
3. Developing a deeply profound trust in God that fortifies us against life’s disappointments. As Pastor Keller states: “There is no way to really learn how to trust in God until you are drowning.”
4. Attaining wisdom about how life goes.
5. Understanding that God is with us in the fire. God is near, available, and dependable. The pivotal question is if we will walk with Him.
6. Treating God as God and as there. Pastor Keller explains: “But preeminently, it means to see with the eyes of your heart how Jesus plunged into the fire for you when he went to the cross. . . . If you remember with grateful amazement that Jesus was thrown into the ultimate furnace for you, you can begin to sense him in your smaller furnaces with you.”
7. Going into the furnace with the Gospel makes it possible to find God in there.
Today’s question: Which of the seven lessons of the furnace resonate(s) most deeply with you? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The tortoise and the hare”
Coming Tuesday: a Valentine’s Day Short Meditation- “An undivided heart”