Monday, March 16, 2009

In the Fog or the Furnace

A heavy fog has blanketed the morning. I know that there are houses just across the street but they are veiled with a cloud that is visiting earth and are presently hiding from my view. I cannot trust my sight at this moment in time, I must depend on what I know to be true. There are objects across the road whether I see them or not.

Yesterday, I visited the church I grew up in. It was refreshing to go back home and hear a fresh word from an ancient passage. The pastor was gone on vacation with his wife this week, so an old friend of mine was filling in. He was nervous! He had a word, was confident that he had heard, but he was intimidated by us.........His friends and family,  to deliver it. 

He began with a nervous intro, making us laugh, while trying to settle his own state of being. He promised that he would get to the end of the message, eventually. "It might take fifteen minutes, and it might take five days!" he said, "I have seventeen pages! We will see what happens!"

Then he began to share his heart. A sweet anointing fell in the house of the Lord, and my friend Steve began to testify. We turned to Daniel, chapter 3, where we found Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the three Hebrew children who refused to bow in the earthly king's presence.  Steve introduced them as if we had never heard of them before and he compared their desperate situation to any of us who might be in a season of struggling today. 

Trust was main point. Who do we trust? The three Hebrew children knew that they could trust the Lord in life and in death. The Lord is trustworthy. 

I love this story. 

It stirs my faith!

It is a picture of a test.

A test that was passed and blessed while producing for them a testimony.

Awhile back I was spending some time in the book of Daniel, petitioning the Lord to show me something that was hiding behind  fog to my spiritual eyes. He revealed a powerful thought to me.

King Nebuchadnezzer could see the fourth man in the fire! 

It is recorded because the king saw the fourth man!

But it does not record that the Hebrew children could actually see the fourth man in the fire. 

They knew He was with them..........they were not being consumed though they were baptized in fire. 

He loosed them from the king's bindings. 

It was obvious that He must be with them.

But there is no guarantee that they could actually SEE HIM!

In seasons of suffering, I have found it difficult to spot the fourth man in the furnace with me. 

Others have commented that they can see Him.

I marvel.

They marvel at my strength.

I don't sense strength.

My weakness is acutely obvious to me.

But the world can see?

That is grace.

His presence is always with us........as He walks through our tests and trials with us bringing glory to His name. 

Whether we see Him or not.

Whether we feel Him or not.

It often brings the world to it's knees, this kind of testimony.

The bow is often redirected from worldly idols to the true and living God.

An awe settles.

A testimony is born in seasons of fog or furnace producing for us a weight of glory.

An eternal weight of glory. (2 Corinthians 4:18-19)

The fourth man in the fire has been in the furnace with us all along.

Just like a foggy day can hide building, trees, and fields, though we know that they exist.  The Lord can hide His presence, stretching our faith to reach for what we know to be true.

And He will reward our faith for believing what we cannot see.










8 comments:

Laura said...

Oh, friend, what a powerful word He gave you in this truth! You have spoken His words to me tonight. I needed to hear these things. Discouragement can be so heavy, no? We have been down with a terrible virus for a week now. I'm almost better...but now hubs is getting it. Littlest is still in the midst, and oldest is beginning the telltale cough.

i am tired.

But that fourth man is with me.

I do feel Him. Sometimes :)

Thank you, Cheri.

Corrie said...

Awesome thoughts! Thanks, Cheri

Joyful said...

Cheri, I'm a visual girl. I can 'see' Him in the fog and furnace now...not because my vision gives sight, but because my heart knows He's there. Oh my friend, thank you.

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail." Lam.3:22

Cheri, I have been struggling so hard to see Him, yet people too, have been speaking of my amazing strength - a strength that can only come from the Lord.

Oh, praying a testimony will be born in this season of both fog and furnace.

Holding on to Who I cannot see,
Joy

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy" 1 Peter 1:8

"God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." Acts 17:27

Melanie Dorsey said...

Great in"sight"!
Melanie@Bella~Mella

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

What a great word...Thank you. So glad that I found your blog.

I have just joined the blog world. When you have some time, come by and visit.

Teresa

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

I came over today from Joy's blog "Ponderings". And I'm SO glad I did! Your post spoke volumes to me at a special time of need in my life! It's strange that today is the first time I really noticed that without the word "TEST" you can not have the word "TESTimony"! I pray that I will not fail God's tests in my life!

God bless you!

Marilyn

Julie said...

Cheri,
I found you from Joy's blog........

This was beautiful. I loved the picture you painted. And I SO relate. I've been in that furnace time and time again. I wrote a devotional for the Internet Cafe (and my blog) titled "You Never Walk Alone". It's about one of my favorite stories, Jesus with the two men on the road to Emmaus. I love the pictures it shows. Jesus was always there walking beside them even though they had no idea...

Your post reminds me of that.... I also think of the verse, we walk by faith, not by sight.. It's so true. It's at these times of "not seeing" that we wrestle with what we truly believe....

Thanks for sharing. I've enjoyed my visit here.

It's nice to meet you,
Julie

Karen said...

Cheri,

This is such a profound insight and one I never had! Thank you so much for sharing!

I too found you through Joy's blog. I'm very glad I did! nice to meet you.

Karen