I’ve burned my skin several times this year. Each time was a result of poor judgment and a good dose of stupidity.
The first burn happened while I was making soup. The base begins with warming olive oil in a pan with herbs and then adding sausage creating a beautiful aroma. In error, I should’ve thawed the sausage entirely instead of pounding it in the pan with my wooden spatula. The oil resented my pounding and flew up and bit my arm like a viper. It hurt for months and eventually healed as two large scars on my forearm.
The second burn was 100 percent stupid. A coal fell out of the grill and I thought it wasn’t hot yet. It was. That burn healed quickly which I attribute to early years of waiting tables and handling hot plates.
The third burn just burns me (see what I did there). My newest haircut is shorter than normal and we just haven’t gotten along yet. I was attempting to curl the ends and barely touched my shoulder with the curling iron. It didn’t feel that hot, but apparently it was. The burn peeled within days and then grew to a quarter size icky blob. It’s still healing.
Several emotional woundings have occurred this year that felt like a blow-torch to my soul. I’ve suffered caustic emotional burns that the average passer-by won’t see, but they’re there; itching beneath the surface wanting desperately to be healed. When I was first in pain, I cried out to God, “Why God, why?” But I’ve since changed my prayers to, “What are You working in me, God?” This has created a perspective shift in getting my focus off my problems and onto the problem Solver.
In order to do that, I began meditating on this passage:
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. — 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)
I love how the Message version offers another angle and says, “This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.”
This fiery trial has been strange, yet the Lord has been encouraging me to rejoice as I partake in Christ’s sufferings. I’m not a masochist. I don’t enjoy pain and suffering. However, through this pain I have found camaraderie with Jesus. I’ve discovered another way that God expresses His love toward me. I’ve walked through another shadowed valley holding the Word of God as my Life Source to pull me through. The refiner’s fire is hot for a reason, with glory just around the corner.
I’ve gone through a lot of burn cream and Band-Aids this year. Burn cream is different than regular antibiotic cream. Unlike antibiotic cream, burn cream helps keep the skin soft and pliable in order to heal correctly and fully.
Read that again: Burn cream helps keep the skin soft and pliable in order to heal correctly and fully.
As an act of my will, I have purposed to keep my heart soft during this season. It’s not been fun or easy, but if I don’t keep it soft by applying daily forgiveness, then by default I allow the wound to scab over and get hard with bitterness. I don’t want a scab of bitterness to reside over my heart. I want my heart to be soft and pliable.
If I’m going to love God with my whole heart, then I need my heart to be whole.
If you’re experiencing a strange fiery trial right now, don’t lose heart. Keep your heart soft with a daily application of forgiveness and keep your eyes out for glory … it’s just around the corner.