A trusted mentor shared with me a story someone once shared with her. I’ll do my best to share it with you as beautifully as she did me…
Once there was a woman who wanted to understand what the Bible meant when it talks about refinement, so she went to a goldsmith to learn firsthand about the process.
As he answered all her questions, she asked him if he sat and watched the gold the entire time. Of course! He replied. For if the flames become a degree too hot, or if I keep it in for a second too long, the gold would be destroyed!
The woman thought about his words, and compared them back to the specific passage she had studied earlier.
“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.” -Malachi 3:3
Our Refiner sits.
Whenever we feel like we’re in the fire, we can find comfort in the fact that not once does God take His eyes off of us. Nor does He let the flames get too hot nor does He keep us in for longer than we can endure, for His sole intent is our purification. He sits and steadily holds us in His hands, in His perfect wisdom, and in His perfect timing.
How do you know when the gold has been refined? She asked the smith one last question.
He smiled and answered her. When I pull it out of the fire and I’m able to see my own image reflecting back at me, that’s when I know the process has been completed.
Although God uses every trial we face to purify and refine us, it’s easy to feel like we’ve fallen victim to an unjust world. OR we may dismiss suffering as spiritual attack, argue that no good could come from it, and immediately pray against it.
I’ll raise my hand for both those feelings.
But as true as both quite possibly may be, how we respond and grow through such seasons of life is up to us.
As I’ve been praying and seeking the Lord on this area in my own life, He’s reassured me that refinement is a necessary process. All His beloved children will go through it.
Even though it’s not always fun and may seem like God is nowhere to be found, the truth is He’s in full control of the entire process. Once it’s complete, His image will be reflected in us for the world to see.
I mulled over some recent scenarios that have specifically been targeting my character and spirit, AKA God is probably using them to refine me. I jotted down a few…
I can know I’m being refined when .
…I’m feeling the heat. (punnnnnny, sorry)
…I’m constantly battling to deny my flesh.
…I’m facing painstakingly difficult situations that give me an opportunity to become more like Jesus.
…I want to run away in anger, but I stay and attempt peace.
…bitterness and offense are eager to spring up, but the Holy Spirit extinguishes them.
…forgiveness is the last thing I want to do, but by God’s grace alone, I do it.
…I feel stuck.
…I’m waiting for healing.
…I’m waiting for answers.
…I’m questioning my purpose.
As hard as these may seem in the moment, the Lord is using all of these scenarios to turn me towards Himself. To seek His Will. To know His ways.
To reflect His Image.
To be molded as He chooses.
That I may bring offerings in righteousness before Him.