This past Sunday during the congregational worship time we sang "Rejoice in the Lord." That song gets me... every. time. I was a blubbery mess by the time we reached the refrain for the third time, which, is when our song leader calls for the instrumentalists to keep playing so the congregation can greet each other. I didn't have enough time to get myself put together before having to greet people, so I'm sure I was quite the sight!! Praise God for mercy - and merciful brothers and sisters in Christ. No one poked fun at me! (HA! Just kidding...no one would ever do that.)
For several years now I have been experiencing some changes in my life... some pleasant, some, well...not so much. But, I know that the Lord is working in me. And I know that it is all part of His perfect, and beautiful plan for my life. It's just that sometimes, the refining process is painful. Unfortunately, sometimes, the pain is self-inflicted. If only I would learn my lessons the first time, like normal people, I wouldn't have to sit over the fire for so long! (Because normal people know better than I do, right?) ;)
So, in my study of the virtuous woman this morning I came across this story. It is pretty well known, and you may have already heard it, but here it is for a refresher. The verses I hold close to my heart during these times of trial are in I Peter and Malachi. OH the promises that in the fiery trial HE is with us, HE never leaves us, or so much as takes his eyes off of us. There is peace in knowing that He is refining us... and YES, we can rejoice!
I Peter 4:12-13 "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you... But rejoice..."
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."
"This woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining it. 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 so as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot when she thought again about the verse, that 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, he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if the silver was left even 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 the silver is fully refined? He smiled at her and answered, "Oh that's the easy part - when I see my image reflected in it."