The Furnace of Affliction by Horace Williams Jr. helps readers discover how God uses pain to accomplish His purpose in us and shares how pain develops our faith, determines our path, deepens our commitment to God, and brings us comfort, joy, and peace.
Williams survived a stroke in 2010 and knew God wanted him to write a book and share how his suffering helped him grow stronger in his faith.
“The paths we follow to reach our intended purpose are up to us. Are we willing to humble ourselves and be used by the Lord, or do we shake our fists in anger and curse him in our pain?”
I loved Mr. Williams’ vulnerability as he shared how pain and suffering demolished pride in his life.
Before the stroke, Mr. Williams says he put his confidence in his finances, talents, and abilities. Through the ups and downs of recovery and rehabilitation, Horace learned to depend upon the Lord and find his joy and purpose in Him.
“In the painful, isolated nights in the hospital after my stroke, I began to realize the true nature of God’s love. Because of the love He has shown me, I now write to you.”
Even though it has often been difficult for Williams to write due to ongoing pain and numbness in his arm, he continues to pursue his writing ministry so he can share his testimony and offer hope to others who are suffering.
“He can turn our pain into a platform for His glory, be that pain physical, emotional, or spiritual.”
Horace’s writing is to the point and easy to read. He relates scripture to real-life situations and shares personally from his own experiences.
Valerie: Horace, you have been through so much after surviving a stroke in 2016 and dealing with continuous pain. What is your physical pain like today?
Williams: My physical pain is now constant. In fact, I am now a sufferer of chronic pain. I was recently diagnosed in September of 2020 with possible permanent nerve damage. I am learning to manage it every day, but it is excruciating.
Valerie: As you may know, behind the scenes many authors talk about being spiritually attacked on the topic they are writing about. Did you experience spiritual attacks in regards to your health as you wrote this book?
Williams: Oh, yes, indeed! There have been spiritual attacks aplenty. Physically, I almost broke my wrist and was unable to do much of anything for almost three months. My wrist is healing, but I still have some pain and have to be careful not to reinjure it.
Valerie: How did God help you through?
Williams: God continues to be so faithful through this writing journey. He continues to comfort and encourage me despite recently losing both of my caregivers. He has shown me that I can do things that I would never have tried to do if I were not alone. Whenever I dive into His word, I am reminded of His unmatched love, and I don’t feel like I’m in this alone.
Valerie: How did God show tenderness towards you in your most painful moments?
Williams: God knew when I needed to hear from someone. Whether it was a phone call with a friend, some good news about the book, or an encouraging advance review. He continues to remind me that I am doing His will and fulfilling His purpose for me.
Valerie: Using the chapter titles in your book, what areas has pain and suffering most developed you?
Williams: That is a tough one, asking me to choose just one chapter. But God continues to develop my faith in His faithfulness. I look at what He has brought me through and have confidence that He will do it again—no matter what! Which is why I choose to live with joy, knowing He is preparing me for something. The peace He gives me is like nothing else. It is hard to describe. When I keep my focus on Him—that is the key!
Valerie: Horace, what would you say to encourage someone who feels God has turned their back on them in their pain and must not care?
Williams: Truthfully, if you are feeling that way, that is the enemy, Satan. Drop to your knees and pray. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8) It may sound simple, but it is true. God is always near. Have you drifted away? Are you distracted by busyness or too focused on your circumstances? Have you moved God to the back burner? I know for myself, especially during this pandemic, the social unrest in our country, and this being an election year.… I’ve had to make changes. I don’t fill my head with the news from my DVR. I try to fill each day with an overload of Bible teaching, reading, and prayer. I have made my bible study enjoyable, watching a variety of Bible teachers. (Some I’ve mentioned in my book.) They inspire me to delve deeper into the bible, asking God to speak to me, encourage, enlighten, and inspire me.
Valerie: At what point in your suffering did you allow pain to make you better not bitter? How did you stop living as a victim and start living as a victor?
Williams: Great question, Valerie. I believe that when you truly understand that God has a unique purpose for you, that is when you can let go of the bitterness. When you embrace His purpose for your life, you can begin to live victoriously. Every decision you make is based on fulfilling His purpose for your life. There is no better way to live than being in the center of God’s will!
Valerie: Do you think you’ll write another book? What are you working on next?
Williams: Yes. Lord willing, I will continue writing more books. I feel God wants me to write full-time. Also, I would love to do some in-person speaking as well in the future. Currently, I am working on adding a Furnace of Affliction Quiz for my website. I really want to spread this message of hope and encouragement and help those either heading for adversity, in the midst of a storm or even coming out of a crisis. Hopefully, that will be on my website before the holidays.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.