The Furnace of Affliction
“For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction” (1 Nephi 20:10, see Isaiah 48:10). Today I join Nephi by quoting the words of the prophet Isaiah. For today truly was a furnace of affliction, both literally and figuratively. I have never experience such intense heat in my life-I truly felt as though I were in a furnace, and it did not help that we had to bike today. We brought in the car to the dealership for a recall on a computer part in the car. We expected to be without the car for a few hours at the most. However, as we went throughout the day (on our bikes) we were contacted by the dealership and then informed that one of the pistons I the engine was misfiring-which essentially meant that we would be without the car for about a week. The news was even worse because this next week (starting today) is supposed to reach record breaking temperatures. In addition, the other car in our district is also currently at the dealership for repairs (leaving us with quite a lot of inconvenience as far as traveling is concerned-especially when taking into consideration the amount of traveling we do on Sundays and Mondays (between Church meetings and grocery shopping, etc.).
Note: In addition to losing the car-we lost our meal calendar and tomorrow’s dinner appointment cancelled (all of these events happened within the space of about 10min).
As we left a members home that we visit something very peculiar happened (I might even call it a miracle at the expense of Elder H); Elder H suddenly crashed while riding his bike in the middle of the road (it was a less-busy neighborhood street). Although it is still unclear what caused him to suddenly collapse in the road (considering that there was nothing around him-he sort of just tipped (over), I am grateful that he did (and not because I was happy to see him suffer).
This little accident seemed to have a profound impact on him. This was evident by his reaction, which was an immediate outburst of resolute cheerfulness (there is a possibility that he finally snapped and crossed the line into insanity). In this moment my eyes were cleansed and my vision returned to me so that I could perceive Elder H as the Savior sees him-by his virtue. I suppose that this even may have humbled Elder H with its awakening effect, because there was a very obvious change that occurred in his conviction to the work. Initially he suggested that we should go to Wal-Mart and purchase some new pants (since he had just ruined the ones he was wearing), and then return to the apartment for a break (especially since we were miserable and couldn’t find anything to do other than knock on doors of absent members’ homes). However, Elder H than changes his mind and decided that it would be better to take care of those things later and he resolved that we would continue to labor in the Lord’s vineyard despite his “battle scars”, as he called them, and his slightly shocking appearance (it was quite obvious that he had taken a spill). I was willing to support his decision either way, however, I was fonder of this decision. Over the course of the day, we saw very little success come from our labors and our afflictions. However, we continued to press onwards and I began to finally recognize Elder H’s strengths rather than his weaknesses. I began to finally excuse his mistakes and see beyond his superficial flaws. I began to see his potential as a servant of the Lord and I gained insights into how I could better work with him. Our companionship improved. Our obedience improved. Our missionary work improved. The Holy Ghost once again returned to our companionship. We were refined by the furnace of affliction that we endured today. And as ridiculous as it may sound, these trials allowed me to experience a greater degree of happiness as a result. I am beginning to understand why Job might have felt inspired to praise the Lord and give thanks rather than curse Him for his afflictions. I am beginning to comprehend the purpose of mortality.