If you’ve been wandering in the wilderness for a long time, you’re probably confused as to why the healing is taking so long? “Where is God? Has he forgotten me?” I remember asking myself these same questions.

“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction”.

Is 48:10

I had great anger at my situation, such bitterness that this had happened and started to resent those around me; angry at others for not understanding my pain.  I struggled to cope with the unfairness, the lack of joy and love leading to such loneliness and depression. But here’s what I realised; that these impurities were already on the inside of me, lying dormant. The season of illness produced a conducive environment for these impurities to come to the surface. The did not come about as a result of the illness as I originally thought.

You see we have conscious thoughts, but we also have unconscious ones. Caroline Leaf talks of bringing the unconscious realm into the conscious. These thoughts are then malleable and able to change. What’s revealed, can therefore be healed.

I wanted the quick fix; someone laying hands on me so I could see and feel the instant results. Often this isn’t God’s way. He wants us free from those areas that seek to destroy us. I’m sure you want doctors to fix you, to cure you from your symptoms. But God does far more than doctors. He heals people, and as a result the body and it’s symptoms come into alignment with the Word of God. He does far more than we can ask or imagine (Eph 3:20). We ask him to heal, he makes us whole; a much longer process.

Discipleship Question:

Q. What are the benefits of being refined God’s way? How does this truth help you on your healing journey?

God wants us free from those impurities that are hidden deep inside us, they will cause us damage in the future. The wilderness season exposes them.

“…..These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold, through your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honour on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

1 Pet 1:7

For gold to become pure, it goes through intense heat; the refiners fire. This is not a fire that outright destroys, but one that purifies. Our faith will see us through the fire victoriously, making faith more precious than gold. What a comfort and encouragement to all who are suffering.  The fire burns away impurities, until nothing but pure incorruptible gold remains .The darkness of the world can’t corrupt us when our faith has been tried and tested.  The world now sees the beauty of Jesus Christ. How awesome!

Our struggles are an opportunity to shine, a doorway to a new level of our destiny. Our trials cause us to rise higher, to a new level and a new beginning. God doesn’t want those impurities holding us back from the great things he has in store. Our healing is taking so long because God loves us.

Now here’s the catch: we have to co-operate. The idea is that we climb the mountain, and not just wander around it. If you’re in a season of illness right now, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll be purified. The decision is ours; are we willing to change? Will we allow God to do his work in our lives? I’m a massive advocate for Celebrate Recovery. A Christ centered recovery program to free us from hurts, habits and hangups. This is a world wide program so there’s sure to be a church near you. You can be free from anything that binds you and keeps you from God’s best.

Discipleship Question:

In what ways may you have been wandering around the mountain rather than climbing it? Are you in the same place today as this time last year?

You never really know what’s in you, until you’re under pressure. Peter bragged that he would never deny Jesus, yet when under pressure he denied him 3 times!

You may be under pressure right now, but just think of the beauty that will be revealed. Maybe you take offense easily or have a critical spirit? Do you worry a lot? hold onto grudges? Complain? Maybe you are impatient or have a negative outlook…..God wants to refine these areas! When we reach the end of ourselves, that place of surrender, God reveals his strength.  Have you become more aware of these areas since you’ve been ill?

Maybe the area of refining is more subtle, like people-pleasing, perfectionism or a tendency to control. God is using this season of illness to sanctify you as these areas will hinder your future. Holding onto these areas when we’re struggling is the easy option. They are programmed ways of thinking or learned behaviours which helped us cope when we were young, but they’re no longer serving us today.

So if anyone cleanses himself of what is unfit, he will be a vessel for honour: sanctified, useful to the Master, and prepared for every good work.”

2 Tim 2:21

Wow! we are now vessels for honour. This isn’t a cleansing that God does whilst we sit and wait passively, we co-operate. What a privilege for God to consider us useful and well prepared for a greater level of expansion; to be who he has called us to be and do what he has called us to do.

Discipleship Question:

How can God use us effectively if we’re wrapped up in self-pity, selfishness, pride, perfectionism or any other impurity ? How does this encourage us to co-operate with God whilst in the wilderness season.

Takeaway:

Which area or impurity can you allow God to change today? What’s God saying to you about this and how can you seek change in this area?