Friday, June 23, 2006

"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver..."

There was a group of women studying the book of Malachi. When they arrived at the third chapter, they came across the third verse which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." The verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the nature and character of God. One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't say much about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silver smith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained, "In refining silver, you need to keep the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames are hottest so that all the impurities get burned away." The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot. Then she recalled the exact words of the verse: that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked, "Do you have to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver is being refined?" "Yes. I have to keep my eyes on it the entire time it's in the fire. Otherwise, if the silver is left even a moment too long in the flames, it will be destroyed." The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked, "How do you know when it is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy. When I see my image in it."

This analogy has encouraged my heart so often. When I'm not in the midst of trials, it's easy to say, "Have Thy way, Lord." But it's when the heat is on that the true test of my faith in God's refining abilities is proved.

Human nature doesn't like this. I've find it almost laughable when I discover myself trying to dictate to God what my circumstances should be so that I can best reflect Him. I think, "If only I had this, my walk with the Lord would be so much closer. If only such and such were different in my life, I wouldn't struggle so much."

And so, I try to rationalize myself out of the very thing God is bringing into my life to purge the dross out. It's often not what I anticipated. My mind imagines up horrible tragedies that FOR SURE would draw me closer to the Lord, while God is asking me to daily lay down my life for my family. I dream up self-sacrificing situations somewhere different than where I am, when God is asking me to simply be faithful where He has put me

Fire, trials? Not like I exactly imagined, but they are the very tools God is using to shape this vessel of clay into one of gold that reflects His likeness. Can I trust Him with the heat of the flames?


Rachel Marie said...

So good!!!
I've always been blessed everytime I've read or hear that Refiner's Fire story...!
Thanks for the reminder!
I wouldn't trade the trials and struggles of my past for anything, beacause it's been during those times that I've drawn the closest to Jesus!
Thanks for the post!=)

Andrea said...

Amen, Rachel! Neither would I trade any of the things God has brought me through! They are always some of the sweetest, richest, deepest times for me! God bless you richly!

Monica said...

Wonderful post. I liked the question you had at the end. Thank you on the congrats. you gave. Hopefully I will see you Sunday.