Somehow, the conversation turned to a supremely difficult time of testing that The Mister had been through some years back. “How long,” I asked him, “was it tough and miserable?” Remembering the toll it had taken on him mentally, emotionally, and, in the end, physically.
“Three and a half,” he said, remembering, too.
Thinking back, I recalled his misery. Recalled the agony of working for an oppressor; of laboring under the authority of a man who lacked integrity. Who struck and struck and struck at his personhood, his value, his self-esteem, his very manhood. Who thought that by making another small, it would make him big.
In those months and years, I’d seen him wrestle. Seen him struggle. I watched him hit the very bottom of a pit, deep and wide. Saw him completely undone, every bone broken. I watched, then, as he found, in that place of weakness, the Lord Christ, Gentle Healer, who carefully knit together those broken pieces into something stronger, something lovely, something good.
“It’s as though,” I said out loud, thinking it through, “you were broken down and then strengthened back up!”
“And now,” he’d said, “it seems like it’s your turn.”
Ah, yes. My turn. My turn for the breaking down. My turn to fall, arms flailing, into a pit. My turn to hit the bottom. My turn (yes, it is) to come undone, every bone broken. My turn, now, to find, in that place of weakness, the Lord Christ, Gentle Healer, who is even now carefully knitting together all those broken pieces into something stronger, something lovely,something good.
While nothing outwardly has changed, I sense in my spirit that this extended time of testing is nearly at an end. Even if it’s not, I know this for sure – it’s been His mercy, this breaking and weakness. His mercy, this darkness requiring faith. His mercy, this refining, purifying fire. His mercy that strengthens back upin loving preparation for what comes next.
And you? How about you? If you’re in the refiner’s fire, take heart. There’s a fourth man there in the flames.
Walking through the waters? They will not overflow. Bones broken? Oh, one day you shall rejoice for you, too, shall be made into something stronger, something lovely, something good.
“Make me to hear joy and gladness that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.” – Ps. 51:8