Ever feel like you’re being beaten down at every turn and that it feels like it will never end? I think many of us can relate to that feeling. Sometimes you just want to just crouch into a corner and stay there till the fire’s raging calms down. Wow can I relate. The latest issue that’s had me feeling that way is my mom’s Alzheimer’s. I’m trying to not let myself dwell on the disease or whatever time may be left, but on spending time with my mom. Not an Alzheimer’s patient, but my mommy. None of us know if we will be alive tomorrow whether we have Altzheimer’s, autism, or are seemingly totally healthy. The important thing is what we do with the time we have at this moment and preparing for the eternity that awaits us all.
I read a devotional last night that really spoke to me about how God refines us. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now: Nothing happens in the life of a believer that hasn’t already been filtered through the hands of God and allowed for a good purpose (thank you Howard Russell for that bit of wisdom you spoke to me years ago when Evan was diagnosed with autism…it stuck with me! 🙂 )
In the book of Job God had to give Satan permission to test Job. It wasn’t to punish Job, but to prove to Satan that His servant Job was righteous and as God is always omniscient (all knowing), He knew Job would be refined and come out even more pure. God also rewarded Job by returning what had been taken from him during his testing many times over.
I remember when our dear friend Howard (also a minister) told me that nugget of wisdom. God only allows into our lives what He sees will refine us and what He sees will prepare us for what’s to come. That was when my son was diagnosed with autism. Then my husband went into renal failure. Then my brother was killed. I cried to Howard asking him if God is allowing so much, what the heck is he preparing me for? He has to have more faith in me than I have in myself! Again, the nugget. Then we lost our house and moved three counties away to be near my mom who had been diagnosed with dementia. Again with the nugget. Now my mom’s diagnosis has been upgraded to Alzheimer’s. Guess what? Again with the nugget.
Howard is right though. I’ve recently come to realize that my perspective has been wrong. Instead of thinking that God is continually preparing me for the next tragedy, it’s something wonderful He’s preparing me for. I have to believe that because as I shared last week: God is good. All the time. And He never leaves me alone in the fire. Just like with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the firey furnace in the book of Daniel; He is there right beside me. Then God sent me this devotional as a confirmation —>
A silversmith holds a piece of silver in his hand and carefully studies it from all angles. When his thorough assessment of the piece of silver is complete, he then holds it carefully over the prepared fire and allows the silver to be exposed to the heat of the fire.
The silversmith will eventually hold this precious and observed piece of metal over the hottest part of the blaze that is in the very middle of the fire. The reason that the silversmith desires this valuable piece of silver to spend time over the fiercest aspect of the fire is in order to rid the silver of all of its impurities.
The silversmith never leaves the fire or the silver; he refuses to allow the silver to encounter the flames without the protection of his watchful and expert vision. If the silver was left even an instant too long over the intense heat of the flames, it would be destroyed. The silversmith knows that his chosen piece of silver is fully refined when he can see his reflection in the silver.
According to the expert insight and experience of the silversmith, there are two purposes for the silver to be refined by the roaring temperature of the fire. The first purpose is to remove any existing impurities, and the second purpose is to see the reflection of the silversmith. The silversmith intimately and uniquely understands that the silver is being prepared for a greater work.
If you have found yourself in the heat of a roaring and relentless fire, you can be assured that God, your Silversmith, will never leave you alone in the fire. In the fire, His goal is that He would see His own reflection in your life while He prepares you for a greater work than you could ever imagine.
–From, “Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire”, by Carol McLeod