A little over a year ago, I was in a worship service and I felt the Lord telling me that a refining period was coming in my life. I balked a bit. I feared a bit. Because I know that refining can sometimes be a painful experience, that it can feel unpleasant when you’re walking in the midst of it. But He knew my fear, and He spoke gently to my heart, “Don’t fear. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Rest, rejoice, relax. I’m here with you, walking you through it.”
Fast forward about six months and the Lord gave me a phrase for this season of life (you can see my post about that here). “No longer a slave.” This season was going to be one of being set free. Throughout the next nine months, there were several instances when God worked on my heart and showed me some lies that I didn’t even realize I’d come to believe and He replaced them with Truth. All wonderfully precious experiences with not as much anguish as I had been afraid of. In one such instance, I knew His love for me more clearly and deeply than I ever had before. But then. Then came pain. Panic. Fear. In what felt like an onslaught. Something I’ve faced before, but never wanted to deal with again. And I cried out to Him and He answered back in His love. He gave me His promises to hold onto as the waves tried to wash over me in this storm. He helped me seek HIM in the midst of it, not another person, not a method, but HIM. And He let me find Him. In ways I’ve never found Him before. He proved Himself and His character to me over and over. Throughout it all, He was with me. And He’s shown me that He is with me in everything. That He has always been with me. That fear doesn’t protect me. He does. Even in the midst of knowing anguish in my soul, He helped me turn my heart to Him to cry out for His help. And then He enabled me to wait for Him, for Him to speak to my heart and show me His path through this war zone, His path through this season of refinement.
Part of me has wanted to fight against the pain. But it’s been necessary to open me up, to show me some things that needed to be removed and dealt with. He uses the painful things to that end, for that purpose. He never wastes a hurt and redeems the pain by bringing us to a place of deeper intimacy with Him than we knew before. And He is worth it. To know Him more deeply than I did before this is worth everything. And the more I know Him the more I realize how much more there is to know of Him. And I have the joy of this journey with Him, of knowing Him more intimately in each new season. I’m so amazed and blessed that He takes the time to show Himself and His love and His character to this finite human being. That He deigns to prove Himself and His faithfulness to this doubting Thomas. And that through it all, He holds me in His arms and ministers to my spirit. He reaches roots down deep and establishes my faith in Him more firmly.
He’s setting me free. Free to follow after Him. Free to let Him pour through me. My foundation is more firmly cemented. Existing roots have grown deeper. New roots have reached out and taken hold.
I don’t think this time of refinement is over. I don’t know what else the Lord has to show me. Or how painful it may be to deal with it, to face it. But I’m going to sit back and let Him guide me through each part, whether stormy or calm, while believing His promises to me that I will make it through this and that He will work all things together for my good.
He Holds Me
He holds me under the night sky
Comforting me in His embrace
Bringing calm to my mind
And peace to my soul
And suddenly the universe that once felt frightening in its vast immensity
Now brings the comfort of its Maker to the deepest parts of my soul
He is my everything
He is all I need
He is with me in every moment
He is my Savior and Redeemer
He is my truest Friend
He is my Shield and Protector
My sufficient Grace
He holds me in His arms
And my heart beats for Him