I have refined you, but not as silver is refined.
    Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.
I will rescue you for my sake—
    yes, for my own sake!  Isaiah:10-11

The trials and tests we go through don’t define us…they refine us!

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to visit a brass foundry in Waynesboro.  From the observation window, I was able to watch the refining process as the metals, copper and zinc combined, were melted down to remove impurities and then poured into molds making beautiful candlesticks and other brass objects.

The intense heat of the refining process brings the impurities of the metal to the surface. These initial impurities are scraped off the surface.  The process continues until the metal is pure enough to reflect an image on the surface like a mirror.

How is it that some individuals can suffer un-imaginable physical and or emotional abuse in childhood without being consumed by hatred and bitterness?  How is it that some people can overcome life threatening addictions to live full productive lives?  How is it some individuals can suffer through terminal illness and still maintain a positive attitude and joy filled life?  Only by the grace of God!

In the Old Testament Book of Daniel, Chapter 3, we read the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were bound and thrown into a fiery furnace 7 times hotter than usual for refusing to worship an idol created by King Nebuchadnezzar.  Yet, they were seen walking around loose accompanied by a fourth man who “looked like a God.”  When they were stepped out of the fire, they didn’t even smell like smoke. Their faith and obedience to God saved them.

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.
 When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,… Isaiah 43:1-3

In Luke 3:16, John the Baptist told his followers, …“I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

John was talking about Jesus! Jesus Christ came to reconcile all of mankind with the God of Creation. When we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we are sanctified, set apart, as children of God.  We are filled with the Holy Spirit. 

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

2 Corinthians 5:17

The process of sanctification begins.  It is our refining process.  Does it mean we will never again face trials and hardships and disease?  Absolutely not.  There will always be suffering. But we now have the strength that only comes from our relationship with Christ to get us through.

When we develop our relationship with Christ, when we let the Holy Spirit guide us, when we read and follow His Word, when we strive to become more like Him so that when others look at us, the reflection they see is the love of God; when we grow in Him, we learn how to let go of the pain, the hurts, the anger, the despair, and all the things that kept us bound in chains…the things we once saw as defining us. We can begin to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Darlene Shelton 8-20-22