The Refiner’s Fire
Grace Andrews of Independence, MO, USA
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you. -2 Thessalonians 3:16
In both the Old and New Testaments, numerous references mention the refining of gold and silver…comparable to our God refining us. Malachi 3:1-3 is a good example: “I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me…The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight…like a refiner’s fire…will purify and refine them like gold and silver.”
In biblical times a refiner began by breaking up rough ore-hardened rock mixed with common minerals such as tin, copper, and zinc. Experience taught them that within the rock was the promise of valuable, hidden rare metals of gold and silver. Breaking up the rock was necessary to begin the refining process by exposing these highly valuable metals to heat. The refiner placed a crucible into the furnace where the flames were hottest. The precise temperature burned away all impurities that would mar the quality of the gold or silver. He kept a close eye on the silver, because if the silver were left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. As the ore melted, a layer of impurities formed on the surface. The refiner painstakingly skimmed off the impurities, turned up the heat, and placed the crucible back into the blistering furnace. Impurities rose to the surface up to seven times. The refiner skillfully removed the dross, leaving behind gleaming gold and shimmering silver, and he was able to see his image clearly in it.
Just so are we the rough rock in need of refining. Our Refiner patiently sits over the fire, his gaze continually fixed on our crucible. When our character is cleansed and our hearts purified, we become truly beautiful. Sometimes hanging on to hope amid trials, the heat seems well beyond what we think we can bear. But if we persevere by trusting our Refiner, God’s image will ultimately be seen in our countenance. Psalm 66:10 says, “For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.”
We are assured our Lord will never leave us nor forsake us. While life purifies and refines us like gold and silver, the Holy Spirit works like fire to make us a people precious to God. How lovely is the promise that if we will but trust the Master Refiner to do his work, God’s image will be seen in us.
Let your world of beauty capture me.
Growing a Gracious, Generous Heart
Open your heart to God’s grace and generosity with a “breath prayer.” Let your breathing slow and deepen. Be aware of God’s breath moving in and out of your heart. Spend several minutes focusing on breathing in God’s generosity. With each breath, silently name one gift for which you are thankful. Let your heart expand to contain God’s gracious outpouring of love. With each breath out, name one gift you want to share from the overflow of your heart.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.