I Will Not Refuse What Refines

As my earthly tent continues to weaken, due to the the 13 years in which the Lord Jesus carried me through a brutal and torrential storm of persecution, my mind and heart delight in these words from my Lord,

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst…”
~Matthew 11:27-30, John 6:35

On January 8, 2020, I will undergo my 3rd heart surgery (cardiac ablation for atrial fibrillation) and 13th surgery within an 11-year-period of time. Less invasive methods for my fifth arrhythmia have already been tried and found to be ineffective. My most recent physical affliction has caused me to daily suffer from extreme fatigue, light-headedness, headaches, and nausea, with occasional incidences of near syncope. I’ve had adjustments made to my pacemaker to help prevent a heart attack, and prescribed a blood thinner to help prevent blood clots and stroke.

To compound the stress put on my worn and weary heart, I’ve also been suffering a great deal from a “thorn” of Satan (spiritual persecution from a professing believer).

It is easy to be dismayed when my eyes are focused on the here and now, on myself and others, rather than on the there and then, and on my God and Father. But when I lift my eyes to the hills, where my help comes from; from the Maker of Heaven and earth, then though I can only dimly see eternal things, it is still a more beautiful and truer sight of what is real, and perfectly good. And in the light of what awaits me in my Forever Home with Christ my God, I feel I can perceive all things here, even more lucidly.

Therefore, shall I complain of my sufferings—minuscule in comparison to what my Lord suffered for my sake? Shall I be perplexed by the fiery trials of unmitigated and unfounded disdain? Shall I desire less hardships in this life, than what my Lord taught me to expect in His Word? Shall I be surprised by the insults and hatred of false professors who practice the works of the flesh (idolatry, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger; Gal 5:19-21)?

No. I shall not refuse what my Lord uses to refine me. Rather, I ask for it. I ask that people will see Christ and the holiness of God, rather than see me. I pray that if in so doing, people misunderstand and mistake my own character—of weakness, frailty, and fear of man, for the character of Christ—humility, strength, and steadfastness.

In Matthew 10:34-36 and 1 Peter 4:12-14, my Father has faithfully reminded me that though those who feign victimhood receive comfort and encouragement, and it seems that I am left out in the cold, because of Christ, this is an impossibility. The truth is, all who are in Christ, are hid and sealed in the hand of the Almighty who is a consuming fire. And we are therefore, always warmed and kept safe by His divine hand, whether or not He allows people to participate in this compassionate work of His grace in truth.

Remembering this, I am able to endure the loss of all things (bodily health, beloved relationships), for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, my First and Greatest Love, and my most magnificent and sufficient Portion forever. For I have none in Heaven but my LORD. And there is none on earth that I desire equal to or above Him. Though my flesh and my heart fail me, because God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever, I have the inexplicable happiness and highest honor of being able to daily feed from God’s Word, and drink from His Holy Spirit—having my hunger and thirst wholly satisfied beyond what I even knew was possible.

‘Come unto me and drink’…Not, come and take a hasty draught; not, come and slightly alleviate, or for a short time remove one’s thirst. No! ‘drink,’ or ‘be drinking’ constantly, habitually.

Do not let us change the Savior’s words…It is not ‘Whosoever has drunk,’ but ‘Whosoever drinketh.’ It is not one isolated draught he speaks, or even many, but of the continuous habit of the soul. In John 6:35, also, the full meaning is this, ‘He who is habitually coming to me shall by no means hunger, and he who is believing on me shall no means thirst.’ The habit of coming in faith to him is incompatible with unmet hunger and thirst…

It seems to me that where many of us err is in leaving our drinking in the past, while our thirst continues present. What we need is to be drinking—yes, thankfully for each occasion which drives us to drink ever more deeply of the living water.
~Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor,
copyright 2008 by Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts.
Used by permission. All rights reserved (pp. 146 and 155).

1 Peter 4:1-5.