Saturday, May 6, 2017

Singing in the Fire

"Mrs C.H.Spurgeon, wife of the
famous Victorian preacher,
was for many years afflicted with illness
which at times was acutely distressing.
One wintry evening, as the deeper darkness drew on,
she lay on her couch, much discouraged,
and wondered again why such lingering affliction
should be allowed to frustrate the service
she would fain have been rendering
to the Lord's servants.

Suddenly, she heard a clear, musical
sound like the trill of a robin;
but no, surely no robin could be singing
out there in such wintry darkness.
Again the plaintive, melodious notes
stole into the room;
and then she found to her surprise
that they came from the fireplace.

The fire was letting loose the imprisoned music
from the heart of an old oak log which
was burning there.
The old oak had garnered up that song in the days
when all went well with him,
when birds twittered merrily
on his branches, and the soft sunlight
flecked his leaves with gold.

But since then he had grown old and hardened;
ring after ring of knotted growth had
sealed up the long-forgotten melody,
until at last the fierce tongues
of the flames consumed
his callousness and enabled him to sing his
sweetest song even amid self-sacrifice.

"Singing in the fire"! Says Mrs. Spurgeon,
"If that is the only way to get a song of praise
from these apathetic hearts,
then let the furnace be heated
seven times hotter than before!"

I read this story recently and began to think about the trials in my life, and whether I ever
'sing in the fire'.
It seems, of late, that the burdens are heavy and trials and testing abound, and some days the waves crash overhead so often and so fierce, that I almost give up hope of my little boat staying afloat.

But, I was encouraged by the verse Paul wrote in

2 Corinthians 4:17

For our light affliction,
which is but for a moment,
worketh for us a far more
exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

Now, if you've ever studied the life of Paul, you'll know that he had his trials.

2 Corinthians 11:24-27 

Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

So, for Paul to say his affliction was 'light' and that it was 'but for a moment' is
amazing to my understanding!
Paul realized that our trials 'work for us'
an eternal glory.

The trials we face work for us and in us. To develop and strengthen our faith. To mature us. To purify us. To make us more like Christ.

Over the past few months our Pastor has been teaching through the Psalms. We have been gleaning an insight into the life of David and the huge trials he faced. But despite his overwhelming troubles, he stayed faithful to God. And it is evident in so many of the Psalms, that he had learned to 'sing in the fire'!

We see him on his face before God. Crying out for mercy from his enemies. And then, we see him on his feet, praising the God of his salvation, often even before the trials has ended.

Psalms 3:3-5 

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.

I love verse 5. David is confident in God's protection. He has armies chasing after his blood,
yet he lays down and sleeps.

In Psalm 4:8 it tells us that he lay down
in peace and slept.

"I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

There is a sweet peace that only God can bring
during our trying times. And there is a song
that only God can bring forth out of our aching
hearts. He and only He, can teach us to
'Sing in the fire'.

And all those around us, can be encouraged
and challenged and blessed by our song of praise.
God will be glorified by our right response
and His name lifted up.

Sometimes, God has to send the flames
to teach us to sing.