by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
Ash falls from the sky like rain. Except unlike that which nourishes, replenishes and enables life, it represents that which has been destroyed and is no more. Consumed. Eliminated. As if evaporated. That which was seemingly important and valued now vanished. Certainly, eventually it contributes to something new coming forth, but that is for later. For now, there is loss and the mourning of what was and may never be the same again.
There is fire which destroys and fire which purifies. One from which we flee the searing, and one which in the furnace also works in you to bring something of beauty and worth forth.
Sometimes these can be the same fire. Not the same source, but simultaneous effects. You find yourself in ashes and have no idea how this can become something ever again. Evil is evil. Difficulties and sorrows are. Through these, God longs to bring resurrection.
This is not a return of that which has been lost, but a raising up of that which is new and could not be before. You were too distracted. But now is the time. New birth coming forth from the ashes. Glorified through suffering
If He loves you so much, why can’t God come to you through blessings as you define them? Aren’t your wishes and dreams from Him? Isn’t this what He wants to give you? If He hears every prayer, why is there so much ugliness here?
Consider Jesus in the manger. Jesus pursued as an infant and almost murdered. Jesus the toddler and young boy living in exile. Jesus unknown though Son of God. Jesus unseen, then the fool and later the threat. Jesus vilified, degraded and crucified.
Now ask it again, but perhaps differently. What is this way of the cross to which each of us is called?
It is as if we have been set free for a Promised Land life but must traverse a wilderness led by the Spirit’s pillar of cloud by day and fire by night to get there. Fire leading and consoling, but fire also being used by God in the inherent difficulties along the way to purify. Fire which melts us (and so it hurts and feels as if we are being disintegrated) is also that which enables purification. So we become like purest silver. Before the shining preciousness of great worth becomes visible (and useable), the ore must be melted.
Lord, the fire is burning. I fear it will destroy me or those I love. Yet, if I will trust and follow, Your promise is You will bring new life through t his as You do all things. Abundant life. Kingdom life. In the manner which reflects Your way. And I know You will continue to help me in the hardest moments. Ignite Your fire in me for that which is more than what I have known before. Purify my heart oflesser understndings of You which made me view you a s a sort of Santa Claus. I take up my rest in You. In the shelter of Your wings, especially as the purifying fire burns. Pull me through. Walk with me. Let me rest You as you give me Your new form according to Your will so that You can be reflected in me as Your silver.
2 Sing forth the honor and glory of His name; make His praise glorious!…
8 Bless our God, O peoples, give Him grateful thanks and make the voice of His praise be heard,
9 Who put and kept us among the living, and has not allowed our feet to slip.
10 For You, O God, have proved us; You have tried us as silver is tried, refined, and purified.
11 You brought us into the net (the prison fortress, the dungeon); You laid a heavy burden upon our loins.
12 You caused men to ride over our heads [when we were prostrate]; we went through fire and through water, but You brought us out into a broad, moist place [to abundance and refreshment and the open air].
13 I will come into Your house with burnt offerings [of entire consecration]; I will pay You my vows,
14 Which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in distress….
16 Come and hear, all you who reverently and worshipfully fear God, and I will declare what He has done for me!…
20 Blessed be God, Who has not rejected my prayer nor removed His mercy and loving-kindness from being [as it always is] with me.
Psalm 66: 2,8-14,16,20
SONG Recommended: A BABY’S CRY–Christmas Worship album
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