Thursday, February 28

Refining is a hot and painful process...

Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says:” He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it"

A friend sent this little email to me and the sound of God's gently whispered…."See what mighty things I am doing"….has silenced the droning of my heartfelt sorrows for the time being. I sought forgiveness, not forgetting, from the person I hurt yesterday with my words…..and although it didn't mitigate the damage or the wrongfulness of it, I explained why I had 'blown a gasket' with this person. The heat of the intense sorrow brought on my wounding words would've left me unphazed if I was the man I once was and probably would've been forthcoming sooner as I would've sought to harm as I had been harmed. But, I am not that man anymore.

I am not the man I was last year, struggling to help God help me. I am not the man who let the situations of his past, his present, and the 'common decision' of my future made by others define me. I am not that man.

But he can pop up, just like the impurities of the silver…..and it is only the intense heat that causes his ugly head to come into view………..and God is watching for him; like a hawk watching for its prey. Not for my good, but to bring me closer to the man He designed and wants me to be, regardless of any absence of comfort that I may have to go through.

I sometimes wish I could go back; to ignorance, to blind bliss. Although I know this is not realistic or even productive, some days I long for the contentment that comes from being stupid. To my responsibility, to my design flaws, and to my purpose. But God doesn't take any time off and He doesn't let me.

The hardest thing lately has been to reconcile the circumstances to the spiritual strength I am finding God developed in the circumstances of my past. Praise and awe from friends have nothing to hold next to my own amazement that 'I am enduring so well'. The other day proved to me that I am not 'enduring well,' and even 'enduring badly' because I am relying on my own definition of endurance. I cannot reconcile the call God has placed like a fire brand on my soul with the circumstances I have gone through in the last year. It is unfair, I have done my best and still…….

I've asked God to show me His ways…….

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are my God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. - Psalm 25:4

I have asked Him to give me discernment and wisdom to be where and who He would have me to be. But I haven't said….."Trusting in You, O Lord, and claiming the patience to wait for Your refining to be done, no questions, no attempts to help. I will wait on You."

Carolyn Baker, who writes the devotional for had this to offer in regards to God's instructional training. "No one but God has the vision and the power to split the veil of counterfeits and deception that is rampant in the world today. Whether we like it or not, He has chosen man to be His vessel of deliverance. This is why many of you are going through struggles right now. God is a generous and loving God - but He also allows testing into our lives. They are allowed to draw us close to Him, give us a deeper understanding of WHO He is - and who we are in Him. That is when true freedom becomes ours. I would encourage you to look at the struggles you are presently in - and spend some time asking God to unwrap His Purposes in You…………………………
Freedom and peace are the rewards – intimacy with Christ our daily goal - and becoming like Christ our lifetime task. It is a process, so you must take a baby step of faith if you want to be set free – otherwise you will stay stuck. Surrender your body, soul, mind and spirit to the full control of the Holy Spirit - and get on with it. You will impact many, and you will save many from the loneliness of isolation as you offer your hand of friendship."

A double whammy from the Lord today….and the wisdom and discernment I had begged for. It is that last statement of Carolyn's that hit me the most…….

You will impact many…..

How has He impacted you today?

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