Monday of the Fourth Week in Epiphany
Fire can either destroy or purify. “I have tested you in the furnace of affliction,” says the Lord. God does not send pain our way; the sin of the world and the consequences of our personal sins result in our being afflicted. However, the Lord promises to be there to purify and transform suffering, with outcomes better than ever.
The action of the Lord teaches us how to grow from pain. The Hebrew word for teaching used in verse 17 is lamad. The root of the word is “to goad.” Likely, it comes from the way an animal learns by being prodded. Our sufferings goad us to learn from them, to be transformed by them. One way is to offer your suffering for others who are not doing so well in theirs. Teach others by the example of your enduring faith in the Lord’s fidelity and mercy to God’s people as Isaiah declares today.