Friday, February 22, 2008

Refined Like Silver

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."

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I did not write the above, but I liked the message so much, I can't help but share it with you.

When was a time you felt as if you were tossed in the fire, but only later discovered that not only did you not get burned, you were more beautiful to behold and had a greater sense of purpose? (Not really rhetorical - I would love to read some of your answers.)

Some times in our lives when we felt the fire was when Mr. Right was let go of jobs, two in a row, right after purchasing our house. Times were tough, pride was broken and many a tears were shed on my part.

BUT! God never let us go hungry, others were gladly willing to be of service to God (we had a few anonymous donations that paid our mortgage), friends came rallying for us and we became so much more defined in our prayers, in our faith and in our speech to others about how God is good in all things. And he still is. He's never changing. It's we who are the changelings, thanks be to God.

Share if you feel comfortable. If not, perhaps you will feel encouraged by others. Blessings on each and everyone of you today, and may you too feel the heat of being loved.

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