Proverbs 17:3 “The crucible is for refining silver and the furnace is for gold, likewise the LORD tests the heart.”
Proverbs 25:4 “Remove the dross from the silver, and material for the Silversmith will emerge.”
Malachi 3:3 “He will act like a refiner and purifier of silver and will cleanse the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will offer the LORD a proper offering.“
Romans 5:3 “Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance…”
Analogies can help us comprehend deeper spiritual application, but we no longer live in a time where the local silversmith is around the next corner. Scriptures detailing the process of purifying silver might not seem as relatable to our microwave generation. The process of purifying silver takes time and careful attention. Standards can be lowered when impatience is allowed to reign over quality and purity. But it is uncomfortable to remain in the heat and difficult to tarry when refining hurts.
Another analogy has proved helpful to me in understanding this process of refining that God does in the life of His children. If we had to undergo surgery for an infirmity but hopped off the surgical table every time there was pain, we would never be healed. But remaining in God and trusting His hand despite the perceived harm will produce a rare treasure. If the uncomfortable shaking allowed into our lives was avoided or placated by running to alternative sources of comfort rather than God, then perhaps the refining would be extended – not out of cruelty, but out of love and a desire to rid us of dross in our lives.
The humanistic philosophies of the day would say we should tolerate and accept our dross and not judge one another for our shortcomings. That is actually not kindness at all. Neither should we judge when someone is going through a difficult season. We cannot understand why, but loving accountability walks alongside and knows that we all have dross that must be purged. To keep the cancer of sin in our lives or to make excuses for it instead of submitting to God to remove it is folly. Who would choose to keep a disease if there was a known cure?
Sometimes we can think the refining process is pure evil – why do such difficult times have to be allowed in to produce beauty? I remember foolishly asking the LORD why I had to go through such difficult trials until I understood they were the very source of inspiration for my music or writing. I could wish that I would not have to undergo such dire circumstances, but then I would not trade the closeness to God in the midst or the character gained in that fire.
The bride of Christ is being made beautiful, one crucible at a time. Through blurry, tear-filled eyes it can be difficult to see clearly the fruit that God is producing, but to rejoice in that moment of suffering at what it is achieving is truly seeing with eternal eyes. The jewel in the rough is becoming a gem that will shine forever.
Lord, help us to yield to You when in the fire of life’s challenges. Make us more like you!