Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried and chosen you in the furnace of affliction.
Isaiah 48:10 (Amplified Version)
Sometimes I think that we, parents of children overcoming weird conditions or affliction, if given the
choice, would choose a different life for our little ones.
But, alas, the choice was not ours and life already made it for us, so here we are….
The truth is that, begging your pardon for this seemingly redundant phrase, the choice has chosen us!
In the last couple of days (literally), I heard news of someone close to our family receiving a baby with
Down Syndrome into their world and of a coworker dealing with a daughter who has a condition where
her brain is too big for her skull.
Sounds like a “furnace of affliction” to me.
When it comes to our children, these weighty, overwhelming situations never feel like “something fell
on our lap” or like something to “put in our pipe and smoke it”…. It does feel, however, like being inside
somewhere… Not so much a situation that “falls on” you, but more of a situation into which you are
“thrown.” Kind of like a furnace?
And, in the words of the prophet, GOD in his infinite ability to turn something completely crappy
(“drossy” – keep reading) into something good says, “I can use this heat to bring the best out of you!”
“Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence but can we look at other options?”
The truth is that we have been given special children who are demanding the dross to float to the
surface, for us to get rid of it and shine the best we have for them.
Unfortunately for me (and you), this process will never be done. It is ongoing. Today will bring its
own “dross.” I cannot get rid of tomorrow’s “dross.” But here is a little thing I have come to find out,
yesterday’s “dross” does pile up and accumulate if I don’t deal with it.
And it is in the middle of the “dross” GOD can see your brilliance as a parent, as a spouse and as a
To the chagrin of theologians worldwide, I have broken many rules of Bible interpretation so far, but
here I go again.
The prophet tells us that, though life thrust a “drossy” situation for our children, something we would
not have chosen for them, GOD can choose us out and in the middle of that “furnace.”
The psalmist reminds us that:
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
As if He were watching our conditions to say, “This will not, it cannot last forever.” I guess we just keep
cleaning dross, as long as there is heat.
Then the other day, I came across this passage from another prophet:
But God says, “Stop your incessant weeping,
hold back your tears.
Collect wages from your grief work.” God’s Decree.
“They’ll be coming back home!
There’s hope for your children.” God’s Decree
Jeremiah 31:16-17 (From The Message paraphrase)
Quite a promise!
For those of us who sometimes feel like our children are not the same, like they were swapped for a
different one at the hospital, well, “they’ll be coming back home!”
For those of us who have felt that we have done EVERYTHING and still things can’t seem to improve;
for those of us who have felt like our children’s childhood is wasted in hospital visits and doctors’
appointments, “there’s hope for our children.”
And the prophet declares, “GOD’s Decree.”
Even so, for me, there are days when it is hard to hold fast to the idea that there will be an end. It is
sometimes hard to believe that our Vivia (and our Rio) will be healed. I get so lost in the daily fights and
details that I forget that this is even possible. Our children can be healed!
I need to listen to Paul’s question, “why are you surprised God can raise the dead?” Acts 26:8
NOTE: From Matthew Henry s commentary on Jeremiah 31:16: “so there is a proportion between the
joys and the sorrows, as between the reward and the work”.