Furnace of Affliction

Is it possible that when the veritable fire burns, the result is more than, better than, purer than if you had not felt the flames of affliction in the first place?

Is there a choice or is the narrative already written?

Was Judas condemned to his end before he was born? Wicked, selfish betrayer.

Was Joseph, on the other hand graced with optimism such that no matter what circumstances landed on him, he knew how to ride out the storm again and again until he landed at the top of the heap? Faithful visionary.

Is there an agonizing dialogue with affliction, a stepping into the happenstances and reconciling oneself with the opportunities presented? Dark though the opposition may be, is there a moment of death where we acquiesce to the pain and vulnerability, shake off the hinderances and nod a firm yes to the invitation to blaze with the uncommon glory we were handed?

An outraged cry would be expected. Our dreams don’t often materialize the way we expect them to, but are birthed from difficulty, contracting us into repeating patterns of disappointment and dying, inviting us into the yes of a sweeter revelation of our calling or if we refuse, the devastating deconstruction of our possibilities.

Do we have a choice?

I say yes.

Did Judas?

Jesus said it would have been better for him not to have been born. Yet there was a moment when 30 pieces of silver were cast onto the floor at the feet of the satisfied collaborators of Death. Grief! Regret! Horror!

Was there a choice? A blink moment?

I have to believe there was that.

Was Joseph just a pollyanna? Eternal optimist no matter what?

Or did he grip the hand of the One who allowed his catastrophic journey for a greater, future better yes? Did this sustain him through the pit, a violent separation from the father who loved him, through false accusation, prison, years of unexplainable unfairness, until the moment when it all came together, a rushing of time through a vortex to the moment of comprehension?

I have to believe it’s true.

And that we each have that reckoning, every moment.

Darkness or light.

Live or die.

Hate or love.

Create or destroy.


I was blessed to hear this brilliant and beautiful violinist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra last month.

( We heard him play the Sibelius Violin Concerto, but this is my favourite so far.)

Note: References above to Judas and Joseph are regarding the Biblical narrative about Judas’s betrayal of Jesus Christ and subsequent suicide, versus Joseph (son of Jacob) of the infamous coat of many colours story. See Matthew 27:1-5 and Genesis 37, 39-47 NKJV.

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