Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Through the Fire

I didn't write this, it was one of those emails that goes around. I tend to just delete them, even the ones that try to guilt trip you, you know, "if you're not ashamed of God, you'll forward this to everyone on your email address list," and "if you send this to 10 people, a miracle will happen." Junk mail is junk mail, even if it has a positive Christian message. But I REALLY appreciated this one. Romans 5:3-5 says to rejoice in our sufferings and James 1:2-3 says to consider it joy when you face trials. These seem like really depressing verses. No one wants to have to face hard times, but this email forward reminds us that God is with us right through the worst of it and He uses the challenges to make us reflect His love.

Holocost survivor psychiatrist Viktor Frankl would say that it's not about finding life's answers- it's how we answer what life deals us. Put another way, "why do bad things happen to good people?" is the wrong question, "What can I learn from this? How can I grow through this? How can I use this to help others later on?"

Malachi 3:3 says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."

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."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Pass this on right now. This very moment, someone needs to know that God is watching over them. And whatever they're going through, they'll be a better person in the end.

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