I read someone talk about how God saves us from the fire, or in the fire or through the fire and He has been talking to me a lot about it.
God can save us from the fire before we walk through a crisis. We make our stand, our even -if stand and are facing the furnace. We feel the heat on our faces but before we are thrown in, God rescues us. This is the type of salvation/rescue I pray for again and again and I suspect you do too. We put our hope and expectations in God coming through for us before we are thrown in the furnace. We pray to fall pregnant before treatment begins. We pray that we don't need treatment at all. I prayed that my Da would be healed before his chemo began. It crushes us when God doesn't come through because we see only one type of salvation, salvation from the fire.
But God can save us in the fire. We are thrown into the furnace and the trial happens to us despite (it seems) our prayers. The very thing that we have prayed for rescue from, happens. We are in the middle of the heat and testing and God saves us. We fall pregnant though IVF or chlomophene or healing happens through surgery for cancer... We experience the suffering, we taste the pain and God rescues us. We pray so hard for this and assure God that saving us now would bring Him so much glory! And if he doesn't we are devastated. We (me) fail to see that there is one more way God saves us.
God can save us though the fire. This is the hard one but the most amazing situation. Even though we walk into the furnace, stay in the furnace and walk through the other side with (seemingly) no sign of God or any kind of rescue attempt, there is still salvation. This is passing through the fire of our final and failed IVF attempt and then falling pregnant or adopting. This is losing my Da and discovering that he accepted Jesus and was in heaven.
This final salvation involves the full and complete pain of the fire and the then whole and complete redemption. This is a full work. God crafts us in the fire (remember He is the fourth man in the fire!), does a complete work and allows us to walk out ''unsaved". Then He restores and completes us.
This third type of rescue/ salvation is so hard as it seems as if the promises are a lie and our faith is empty. We believe and hold on and trust, and them walk into the fire, face the whole extent of the fire without breakthrough or release and walk out "empty handed". But I have learnt that we walk out into redemption, into grace and into newness. God restores. I think that there is a special grace for those saved through the furnace. Why? You only have to look at the life of Jesus.
He wasn't saved from the furnace (the prayers of the garden of Gethsemene) or in the furnace (no angel came and lifted Him off the cross). He was saved through the furnace. He walked all the wall through. It seemed as if He was utterly abandoned (know the feeling?) and walked out empty handed- all the promises and revelation a lie. But redemption and restoration waited. And elevation above all things.
So for those of us who wait on the other side of the furnace, possibly facing another round in the heat, there is redemption and restoration. As God honoured, restored and lifted up Jesus, I believe that those of us who endure and endure with faith (no matter how small it may be) will be restored and lifted up. I believe that God will come through with more than we could ever hope or dream of. I believe that we will look back on the things we hoped for and they will be a shadow of the things we have.
So I need to stand firm. I believe that my God, the God of abundance and promise (refined like silver seven times over) will come through. And we will have more than we ever hoped or dreamed of....amen!