I remember having to concede that it was actually really happening- each one of the dreaded COVID symptoms was no longer just on lists on the TV or the internet; I was now ticking them all in my body in quick succession. And right about then, my wife’s body too. And some of the closest people to me, who were at my house at the time.
Have you had any of those moments of checking yourself in line with the symptoms? Like holding your breath to see if your throat was itchy, or some other home-test. It’s one thing when you can argue it all off as it just being your fearful mind, but when it really starts to come real, your arguments cease.
Now, here we are.
Well, where this story actually started was just a few days before then. ‘Loni and I were together late one night in my house (an unplanned, curfew-induced sleepover) and I remember us just talking around what’s on our hearts for a song we had wanted to work on, and about worship generally and like five hundred and one other things. And somewhere there, with Loni playing on a keyboard, we got talking about fires that we walk through and how they give us a new revelation of God, and then we pushed out a chorus of a song:
I never knew you were here until the fires came
But you always were, burning with love for me
You’re the fourth within all seasons
Now I see You!
Oh, the beauty of Furnace Faith!
I didn’t have the slightest clue that that moment was prophetic and that I was right about to walk through some unprecedented fires for the next couple of weeks myself.
We didn’t get to finish the song, or even pick it up again until some weeks later, on the other side of a real furnace experience. By then, even the chorus we had already written meant something new and fresh to me. I couldn’t hold back the tears. Trying to capture the season we had come through in lyrics for this song was so emotional for me. Listening to it keeps tearing me up.
I’ve found that if it is down to His ability, there are fires that God can keep you from, but in His wisdom, He chooses to keep you in. If I could explain the formula for sorting all that, then I can as well be God. And if you really have issues with the hows of God being God, you can send an email to myunwarrantedfailedattempttobeGod@ whoevencares.com. Some idle angel might be interested in reviewing your uncalled for opinion on the running of the universe and how well God is doing at that.
In the following couple of weeks when the symptoms came heavy on my wife and I, and the people in our close circle- times of weakness more than I’ve ever known in my life and of extreme end-of-myself helplessness and feeling entirely useless, I really wasn’t looking for explanations. That had ceased to be the point. I was really just looking for God.
And please spare me the theology and motivational line: ‘God is always with you. You cannot have more of Jesus. You have all of Him already!’
I know, okay? And that’s totally fine. But simply put, I needed something more about the God I already had! I needed a new revelation. I needed something fresh. I got to those points of realizing how futile and empty life and living is and in a totally fresh way, how needing I am of God.
Because you’re right in the heat of it, you don’t always see it- but the truth is that faith looks more beautiful and golden in the fire! Praise and worship are more weighty, but so much more precious in the fire.
And that’s a lot of where this song came out of. I may not be able to choose all my situations in life, but I can choose my responses. Joy or pain, explanations or not, I can choose worship.
I worship you in my joy and in my pain;
I worship you even when I can’t explain!
I’m glad and grateful that we all recovered. That was a great testimony! If you ask me though, I don’t think the biggest part of it was just coming through the fire- I think it’s the amazing things God used the fire to do in us.
I remember telling my wife somewhere afterwards that life and living can never be the same again. These fires leave us with scars that will never go- scars that are painted beautifully with the beauty of heaven. They give us a prophetic testimony. They give us a perspective on life and living.
This story of fires and intensity could be anything in your context- may be something in your health, career, earning a degree, your marriage, raising your kids, or anything whatsoever. It could be a season behind you, ahead of you, or maybe that you’re in right now, but I think the principles of what God does with the fires cut across.
Our heart and prayer in sharing this song with you are that God will use it to encourage you about how that as God’s child, you’re never alone in the fires of life and we hope the song will help you choose a worship response over all forms of anxiety. And for everyone who doesn’t know Jesus, our prayer is that the fires of life will reveal Him to you.
Life has a way of really getting intense. But whoever you are and wherever you are on your journey, we pray that the fires you walk through won’t waste or leave you the same:
I don’t want these flames to waste
Lord let me burn for you
That when I think of all the fire’s done, I’ll say ‘thank you!’
Furnace Faith © Sycamore Worship, 2020
Words and Music: Tolulope Moody & Oluwaloni Familoni
Release Date: Sunday, 5th July 2020