Have you ever been lost in a grocery store as a child? I’ll never forget the time this happened to me. I was so scared that I ran around the store until I found my mother. Then I discovered that I had found the wrong woman. The other woman thought this was cute. My mother did not. She showed no mercy as she told everyone in town what I had done. I was embarrassed; but at the same time, I felt relieved to know that my mother hadn’t left the store without me that day.

There is a strange, calming feeling we get from knowing we have not been left alone in our distress. In the fiery furnaces of life, God, our Refiner, is always standing by. There’s not a single moment when He leaves us. He hears every cry and sees every tear. He can relate to every struggle. He is there. The fact He is standing by reminds us that He is in complete control. At any moment He chooses, He can pull us out of the fire. He knows how much heat we can take. His love assures us that we will not be kept in the furnace a moment too long. At the same time, His love seeks our best interest and uses the fire to purify us so that we are better prepared to serve Him.

God never promised the Christian life would be without pain. He did promise that we would never be alone in the middle of our pain. As you begin another month, there may be some painful experiences you are dealing with right now. Remember, your Refiner is standing by the furnace. He’s not about to leave you. In the pain of your circumstances, look to Him; He is there for you.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder