Burned and Blistered
When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst. (Lamentations 3:29, The Message)
Trouble nipped at my heels. Didn’t seem to matter what kind of shoes I wore, my heels were still blistered. I’d bought new hiking boots, wore them around for a couple of weeks before I hiked. I thought they were broken in.
Once I got to the summit, my heels stung like they were on fire. I pulled off the boots and propped my feet on the bolder. Huge bubbles formed on the sides of my heels. It figured. I was alone … no bandaids, and a two-mile trek back.
It was a hard month. Our lives were shrouded with hurt and frustration and now we had a life-altering decision to make. I’d prayed over a year for a solution while God pondered. So, I hiked the mountain seeking the quiet, hoping for an answer — to listen. Wait. All I got … blisters!
God promises to hear our cries, to guide us. He asks us to pray continually, believe and trust that He will provide resolution. He is a faithful God, good for His promises and true to His children. Even when we feel as though we are about to break, He promises that with every temptation, with every situation, He will make a way of escape. “
… And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)
What a hope — what a respite we have in Christ.
I blew on the watery blisters then pinched them. Clear fluid drained. I could walk barefoot but the path was filled with sharp rocks. I pressed a tissue against the sores, pulled on my socks and boots and suffered through the sting.
By the time I reached the bottom, I understood what needed to be done. Walk head-on into the fire. It would burn worse than the blisters on my heels but it was the right decision.
When life hits us hard, God encourages us to walk into the flames, just like the three Hebrew boys. Their lives were made fireproof by the faith they held in a mighty God.
My blisters hurt. But they could have been worse. They could have bled. I could have crawled down the mountain instead of walked. Band-Aids, soft socks, and cushy shoes waited at the foot of the trail, but I had to fight through the pain to get to them. And in my trials, I had to look for God’s escape passage.
My boots are broken in now. They’ve molded to my feet and I don’t get blisters anymore, but it took work and wear to get them to a comfortable spot. When I wonder why God calls us into the fire, I remember how He called His Son to the cross and figure any discomfort I feel pales in comparison.
When you seem at wit’s end — blistered and burned, push on. Tough times toughen feet, leading you to an abundance of mountain-top experiences.
Ezra 4:1-3 1When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a temple for the LORD, the God of Israel, 2they came to Zerubbabel and to the heads of the families and said, “Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.” 3But Zerubbabel, Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel answered, “You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it for the LORD, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us.”
When the people of God get serious about worshiping God, the enemy of our soul always incites our enemies to try and distract us. We see the same statements today. “We all worship the same god. All religions basically teach the same thing. Let us help you.” It may be possible to work together on some social issue, but when it comes to the temple of God, we have nothing in common. We do not serve the same God! We do not teach the same thing! The temple must be holy. That was the problem that brought about the captivity. The worship of Jehovah was mixed with religions of the nations they had displaced. We must be honest about the differences in our faith. If we believe Jesus is the only way to God, we should not be bashful about it, but instead have a loving boldness to share the truth for the sake of their eternal destiny.
Some pastors are not concerned if all the staff knows the Lord as Savior. They believe everyone has a natural gift and can use those gifts for the church. That idea ignores the spirit of this passage. When it comes to building the temple, we need sanctified servants of God, or we will find the work is corrupted and compromised by the enemy.
Once they were told that they could not help, they hired advisors to do two things. The first was to discourage. The second was to cause fear. That is the enemy’s tactic to this day. If he can’t directly get in, he will try to cause discouragement and fear. Those are attitude problems. Don’t give in to them for a moment.
Encouragement: Be strong in the LORD and in the power of His might and build!
Living with Suffering – Streams in the Desert – August 28
- 202128 Aug
There he proved them (Exod. 15:25).
I stood once in the test room of a great steel mill. All around me were little partitions and compartments. Steel had been tested to the limit, and marked with figures that showed its breaking point. Some pieces had been twisted until they broke, and the strength of torsion was marked on them. Some had been stretched to the breaking point and their tensile strength indicated. Some had been compressed to the crushing point, and also marked. The master of the steel mill knew just what these pieces of steel would stand under strain. He knew just what they would bear if placed in the great ship, building, or bridge. He knew this because his testing room revealed it.
It is often so with God’s children. God does not want us to be like vases of glass or porcelain. He would have us like these toughened pieces of steel, able to bear twisting and crushing to the uttermost without collapse.
He wants us to be, not hothouse plants, but storm-beaten oaks; not sand dunes driven with every gust of wind, but granite rocks withstanding the fiercest storms. To make us such He must needs bring us into His testing room of suffering. Many of us need no other argument than our own experiences to prove that suffering is indeed God’s testing room of faith.
–J. H. McC
It is very easy for us to speak and theorize about faith, but God often casts us into crucibles to try our gold, and to separate it from the dross and alloy. Oh, happy are we if the hurricanes that ripple life’s unquiet sea have the effect of making Jesus more precious. Better the storm with Christ than smooth waters without Him.
What if God could not manage to ripen your life without suffering?
“Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand everything.” – Proverbs 28:5 NASB
The explosion of new technologies makes it possible to download vast libraries within seconds. Yet, in the face of this overflow of information, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Grappling with our limitations, we can realize that some things are beyond our understanding. But the good news is that we serve the God who created all things and has all knowledge.
The Bible gives us this amazing promise: All limits are removed when we seek God and realize that He is ready and able to give us all the understanding we need. The Bible tells us, “those who seek the Lord understand everything.” Not because we are smarter, but because we depend on Him.
As we encounter situations we don’t understand, we can put this promise into operation. We need to seek God and ask Him for wisdom and understanding. We need to open our minds to His truth.
If you face problems that overwhelm you, use these opportunities to seek God. Ask Him to show you what to do. Fill your mind with His Word. Put His principles into practice. Ask Him to direct your path.
If you feel inadequate or helpless, remember the words of Paul reminding us to draw on God’s strength when we are weak. When we depend on Him, we are strong (2 Corinthians 12:10). Place your trust in God. Have confidence. Believe that He will provide what you need.