Sunday, February 7, 2010
The Refiner's Fire
I've heard the analogy of the refiner's fire used consistently when people discuss life's afflictions and the trials we each endure. The idea is that when the refiner of metal begins working with raw ore, he must do something extreme in order to change the ore from its current, worthless state into something useful, beautiful and precious. The refiner must subject the ore to heat. He must subject it to A LOT of heat! For the refiner to do his work, the ore must be heated to a point where the solid, rock-like substance liquifies and begins to separate into its constituent components allowing the refiner to discard impurities, the granular slag that is good for little more than paving material. If the process works correctly, the refiner retains nothing but the precious, refined metal in its super-heated liquified state. In this state, the metal is now completely malleable and can be shaped into whatever the refiner desires it to become: a tool, a machine part, a decorative ornament, or perhaps something neutral, such as a sheet, a bar or an ingot, in which form it will remain until it is needed for a yet-to-be determined purpose. From my own experience, I can testify that God works with his children in much the same way. He sees the eternal potential in each of us and wants to make us into something better than we can make of ourselves; however, in order to do that, he too needs to turn up the heat. The challenges, losses, illnesses, and trials of our lives can serve to soften our hearts and open our minds allowing God to enter and begin to remake us into what he wants us to be. The trick is trusting God during the refining process. I need to believe that the end result is worth the sometimes painful process and that he has a plan for me and my family. I find that when I submit myself to God's will, exercise faith and trust that he is making me into something better by having me pass through the crucible of this life, I can experience joy even when heat is on.