Life in the Furnace

“.. in quietness and trust shall be your strength …the Lord longs to be gracious to you.. Blessed are all who wait for Him.” Isaiah 30:15, 18

We all want strength to face both the small and greater issues facing us daily.

Whether it is stretching diminishing resources, dealing with the newly independent two-year-old, facing (and loving!) a tempestuous teenager or ironing out relational difficulties in the workplace, we find ourselves in need of physical, emotional and spiritual strength. The problem is that we too often look for the strength in places that simply do not have the sufficiency to supply.

Four young men were taken captive by a powerful enemy king. They resolved to remain faithful to their God in spite of living in a culture totally foreign to their deepest beliefs. The king saw their commitment as defiance and a danger to his authority so he ordered they be ‘bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.’

As we read with imagination about the testing of Daniel and his friends in the blazing furnace, we shudder to think of the searing heat and licking flames. We read nothing of resistance or screams, only the absolute amazement of the king when he sees them ‘unbound and unharmed’. He shouts for them to come out and ultimately acknowledges that the God of these young men has power far beyond anything he imagined.

Isaiah the prophet reminds us that strength is found in quietness and trust. In his book The Way of the Heart, Henri Nouwen writes,

‘Solitude is the furnace of transformation.’

Daniel and his friends walked in quietness and trust long before they faced the furnace. No doubt they experienced solitude when taken far from their own family and culture and from that solitude learned to trust in the one true God.

While no one wants a furnace experience, we would do well to prepare daily ‘in solitude’ for whatever challenges may lie ahead.

Father, for many reasons it is easier to be busy than to be quiet. Help me learn to be quiet with you. Feed my soul in solitude and waiting so I can be blessed and be a blessing.

What ‘furnaces experiences‘ have you had?

How did you find strength within them? How does solitude prepare you for daily life?

By Marilyn Ehle
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

•   Struggles, Despair

•  Prayer of Forgiveness and Release

•   Hope for the Hopeless


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