~Zechariah 13:8-9 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
Whatever trial you’re going through right now, does it feel as though you are walking through a fire? Are you feeling tortured? Whatever it is that engulfs with flames of despair – cancer, finances, relationships – you’re not alone. Why does the Lord allow these times in our lives? Today’s text says we are refined with each trial we experience – but the Lord is right there with us when we call on Him.
~Malachi 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
Just how long must we go through this fire? When does the refining end? Does it ever end? Why must we be refined? I thought of these questions when my beloved was going through the cancer treatments and surgeries. I was reminded of an account I once read of women who were studying the above verse.
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.”
This is where the Lord is when we are going through the fires. This is what He is doing. He is there right beside us and refining us until He sees His image!
I think of when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace. They were not alone. The Lord was right there with them.
~Daniel 3:25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
What great comfort to know that the same Lord who was there with these three young men is right there with us!!! Our end result may be death, but what greater joy is there than to finally be with the One who died for us – our Refiner?
So as we go through our day-to-day trials … as we carry the cross that has been designed just for us … is our Lord able to see His reflection on us? Can He see Himself in our actions? Oh God, I pray that this is so in me!