When Walking Through Fire Isn’t Terrifying

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Here’s When Walking Through Fire Isn’t Terrifying

Walking through fire can be terrifying. We have no idea if we’ll get burned, what we’ll lose, and how long the scorching heat will last. But the promises of God have eased my fears, especially as I’ve experienced God’s presence with me. I often wake up singing this chorus:

Don’t be afraid

I have redeemed you

I call you by name

Beloved I see you

And when the flames

Grow even higher

I’ll go with you

When you’re walking through fire.

 

I had the privilege of contributing to this song, Walking Through Fire, on The Bravest Thing EP with Christa Wells, who handwrote the pictured lyrics. We were joined by Nicole Witt and Taylor Leonhardt, who powerfully performs it on the EP. Every time I sing this paraphrase of Isaiah 43:2, God pours courage into me.

There’s no need to fear. I’ve been redeemed. I belong to Jesus. And he will never leave me.

In choosing the title of my memoir, Walking Through Fire, which is uncannily the title of this song, I was drawn to the metaphor of fire. For years I felt as though I was in the fire, struggling to survive, begging God to rescue me. And it was there that I met God in an unmistakable way. This blazing heat refined me, and God used it to forge something lasting.

The fire awakens us to our need for God

When my life was easy, I didn’t talk to God much. I might have read the Bible in the morning and gone to church regularly, but my devotional life was more perfunctory than personal. I wasn’t desperate for anything and my prayer life reflected that lackadaisical attitude. God was a nice add-on to my life, but my thoughts were not centered on him. But when I discovered that my unborn baby had a heart problem, I reached out to God in desperation. Nobody told me I had to pray – I wanted to. I needed to. Talking to God was my only hope.

God meets us in the fire

Throughout the Old Testament, fire represents God’s presence as God himself is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). In Exodus 3:1-6, Moses sees God in the burning bush. It was set afire but was not burned up because the fire contained God himself. The children of Israel could confidently travel even in the dark knowing that God was guiding them when they saw the pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22). After Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, they discovered that the Lord was with them in the flames and so they could walk around unharmed (Daniel 3:24-25).

The fire carries with it God’s very presence, and I have been closer to God in it than at any other time in my life.  Of course, God is with us all the time, but somehow in furnace, his presence is more tangible. In this post for Desiring God, I describe what it felt like to meet God in the fire.

God refines us in the fire

In Revelation 3:18, the church at Laodicea is encouraged to buy gold refined by fire. Fire purifies gold, burning away the dross, till it is perfectly reflective. Fire has done that in my life as well, as God has purified and shaped me through my suffering. He has softened some of my rough edges, though there is still a long way to go. I’m always surprised at how irritable I can be in suffering, impatient, expecting other people to serve me rather than trying to serve them. I feel I need all the attention.

But when God shows me my self-absorption, I can give all those things to him. Trials don’t make me angry or selfish, they just reveal what is in my heart more clearly. They teach me patience because I often must wait. They make me rely on God because nothing else is secure. They increase my compassion because I remember how hard loss can be. And God uses all those things to make me more Christlike.

I’m grateful for the fire because God has used it to reveal how much I need him. He has met me and changed me by his grace. Faith is not academic there but surprisingly real. While I wouldn’t want to relive those desperate days, if God calls me to them again, I know I will find his grace and his life-giving presence. Walking through fire may feel unbearably hot in the moment, but I am more convinced than ever that God will be with us in the flames and will use the fire to produce something of unspeakable value. Through the fire and water, God will bring us to a place of abundance (Psalm 66:12).

source : https://www.vaneetha.com/journal/when-walking-through-fire-isnt-terrifying

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