November 22 - Purified by Flame

By Joanna Zeiner

Today's Scripture: 1 Peter 1:3-7

Central Thought: Jesus walks with us through every fiery trail we face.

    Jackie kneeled face down on the hard-packed sand. Her grief-stricken wail flowed inconsolably as flame burned her hand-written list of pain into ash.

    The preacher had said earlier, "Jesus came not only to carry your sin on the cross; He also bore your pain". He then urged the people to write on a paper those things that hurt;whether unspoken or simply undealt with, and nail them to the cross he provided for the object lesson. The preacher then took the papers, made a small pile of them, and set them alight. "This", he said, "is what becomes of our pains if we can sincerely let God take them, they turn to ash in His all-consuming, unconditional love".

    For the first time Jackie opened up the imprisonment, torture, and abuse she had suffered in the political warfare that crippled Burundi. She nailed her personal nightmare to the cross. Though Jackie had been a Christian since childhood, only in the release of the flame did she realize the full extent of God's love for her. "I thought God had abandoned me. I thought He really didn't see or care. Now I know He was beside me all the time, weeping. I never knew. I never knew".

Devotional Prayer: Thank You, Father, that You always walk with me, whether in the sunshine or the deep shadows of my life. Whether Your grace purifies my sin or consumes my pain, Your every thought for me is love. Help me always to remember.

Today's Bible Reading: Ezekiel 44:1-45:12; 1 Peter 1:1-12; Psalm 119:17-32; Proverbs 28:8-10