Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Refining Fire

Zechariah 13:9 "This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

Psalm 66:10 "For you, God, tested us; You refined us like silver."

Job 23:10 "But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold."

Isaiah 48:10 " See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."

1 Peter 1:6-9 "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

I was reflecting yesterday on the purifying/refining process. The definition of purify is to make pure: as to clear from material defilement or imperfection, to free from guilt or moral or ceremonial blemish, to free from undesirable elements. The definition of refine is to remove the unwanted substances in (something), to improve (something) by making small changes. When one thinks about purification or refining, I'm sure many people think about gold. The refining of gold is a process that removes impurities. The gold is placed into a hot fire and melted down. Depending on the process used, different elements are added to the gold to seperate out the impurities. The end result is pure gold, free from any impurities.

Just as gold is refined to remove impurities, God works in each of our lives to remove impurities in our lives to make us refined pieces of His handiwork. I have been praying for months that God would work in my life and show me any areas of my life that I have hidden or cherished sin. I wanted Him to expose anything that might be seperating me from sweet communion with Him. At times this process hasn't been too bad. It's easy to see certain things in our lives that we know are wrong (losing patience with the kids, thinking of myself before others, etc). As God keeps refining me though, the process has started to get a little painful. I'm starting to feel the hot flames of the fire as my heart is being refined. God has been making small changes in my life and showing me things that need to change. Sometimes I just want to scream "No More! I'm done!" Then I look back and see how the refining has transformed me into the person that I am today. In faith, I submit myself to the work He needs to do in me to continue this process.

Yesterday was a hard day. It wasn't one particular thing that made it hard. Wayne is doing well and life is good. Despite that, yesterday was hard. I reached a point where I told God that I can't take one more step, that I'm just done. I'm overwhelmed with my "To Do" list, with school, with Wayne's cancer, the list goes on. The final breaking point was God allowing my heart to be crushed. I told Wayne last night that I felt like Jacob after he wrestled with God (Genesis 32:22-32). I couldn't take one more step without God holding me up. I was at a complete breaking point and I told God I can't do this anymore, that I needed Him to help me. I cried out to God, as the David did in Psalm 18:6. "In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears." Isn't that where we should be though? Crying out to God in full dependence on Him for every step? The amazing thing is that I felt God's sweet presence right there in that moment. As Psalm 40:1-3 says, "I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him." I knew what my response needed to be in the situation and it was hard. The Holy Spirit laid on my heart verses and songs to point me in the right direction. Obedience isn't always easy, neither is forgiveness. The end result though is beautiful. Communion with God and restored relationships results when we obey God, even when it is hard.

God has been faithful and has been answering my prayer to refine me. Although there are moments like yesterday that are painful and hard, I know in the end it will be a wonderful thing. It is truly my hearts desire to be set apart for God and for Him to be glorified in my life. May Wayne and I continue moving forward in faith allowing God to answer our prayers to transform us into the beautiful image of His Son Jesus Christ. The following song is one that God laid on my heart yesterday evening as I was walking through the flames. 


Update on Wayne: We are in week three of chemo and radiation. Besides some fatigue, Wayne is doing amazing. He is still going to rehabilitation three hours a day and we see a lot of improvement in his physical strength and his speech. God has been so good each step of the way with Wayne's recovery. When we look back and see how far we've come in just this short time, it is amazing to see God's hand upon our lives. We know we can trust the future to God because He is faithful and good. We are thankful that His mercies are new every morning! He truly is the one that is helping us each step of this journey.

Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." 

Even in the midst of being refined, God is right by my side every step of the way. May each of us allow God to refine us into the people He desires us to be!

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