Life is a journey. It’s not all about the destinations we are hoping for. The final destination, heaven, is of utmost importance. The pathway we walk is really what God’s will is all about. It’s not the physical healing, the sudden sum of money that miraculously comes along, or the circumstance that just one day changes and you get a new job. Victory over poverty isn’t more money. Victory over sickness isn’t immediate healing. God is after the heart, and faith is about God getting us to be what He wants us to be instead of us getting Him to do what we want. Though many of us already know that’s true, the actual outworking of it is quite a bit more involved than nicely calculated phrases that cause a momentary sense of relief.
When threats press in hard and sleep is fleeting because of the sorrows and fears, I need a refuge. When thoughts about regrets, guilt, and fading memories come pouring in, my mind can all too easily lead me into an unhealthy place. That is when I need to find God as a fortress from the invasion of enemies—real and often irrational.
What’s going to happen to our job, income, home, children, peace, and liberty? Where will our health be five years from now? Why is there so much chaos that I can no longer listen to the reports or even talk about it? Why did my friend have to die? What’s my purpose? Why is there so much pain?
The fortress God supplies will be the key to surviving the days ahead. But how do people find it, and how can they know such a place will be given to them? That’s where the lesson of the firebrand comes in. God is the fortress, and we are the brands plucked from the fire.
Am I worthy to find the fortress of God’s comfort, peace, and protection? How can I know for sure? The vessel plucked from the fire answers that question. When a person looks at the pluses and minuses of life and tries to judge his worthiness to be cared for in the storm, that’s when the battle is identified. God’s answer is the fire. It is the fiery trials we have had and the ones we are in that must be understood. Why has God allowed these hard things, and how can we embrace them to establish ourselves in the fortress of unlimited hope and help? That is the message of The Fortress and the Firebrand.