Encouragement

Refined by the Fire

It’s summer in Texas y’all, and it’s HOT outside. I’m not a fan of Texas heat (I don’t know anybody who is), nor am I am fan of the heat that is produced from the trials of this life. For me it seems that the summer heat has rolled into Texas with some friends named trial, affliction, confusion, uncertainly, and battle. The Lord showed my husband and I through a series of dreams that it was going to be a “cruel summer,” so one would think I’d be more prepared. I was not. I feel like I was ambushed without notice.

The heat of what are mostly emotional trials has me rattled just as much as the blazing sun, but the Holy Spirit keeps assuring me that the trials are meant to test and mature me–not harm or overtake me. I tend to forget how excruciating trials can be when I pray for the Lord to refine me, prune me, and make me suitable for His use! I don’t know how many times I have read the following scripture and cried out to the Lord that I want to purchase from Him gold purified by the fire:

Revelation 3:14-19

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be [mzealous and repent.

Along with the refined gold, I have equally cried out for white garments and eye salve. “I want to be rich, Lord! I’m here to purchase the gold refined by the fire, Lord! Cover me with white garments and cover my shame, Lord! Put eye salve on my eyes, Lord, that I may see! Chasten me, Lord!”

These petitions are so passionate and heartfelt in the moment of prayer, but when the process comes knocking at my door, I don’t remember the cries. I become forgetful of the yearning requests I made of my Savior. I begin to whine and call out with very different cries, “Why, Lord! What did I do wrong to deserve this? Please fix it, Lord!”

It usually takes a few days for me to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit reminding me of my requests. I have to swipe the tears to the side, and recall James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be [b]perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Sometimes, I can’t even remember on my own. My precious husband and dear friends are there to remind me to stand strong and trust the Lord through the process. Last night, my husband was there to do just that. I was still sniffling and drying tears as he assured me that we are going to stick together and trust the Lord. I thanked him and said, “Yes, the Lord will keep skimming off the impurities until He sees His reflection in us.”

I was comforted at recalling an article about how a goldsmith purifies gold. The process is not a quick one, but rather one that requires great attention from the smith as he (or she) sits near the melting pot stirring and stirring. As the gold heats and is stirred, impurities rise to the surface. The goldsmith skims the impurities off the top to discard them–only to keep stirring, and to keep skimming–until all of the impurities are gone. How does the goldsmith know that his gold is finally pure? He can clearly see his own reflection in the liquid gold.

As painful as the refining process may be, I sincerely desire for the Lord to be able to look at me and see His own reflection. Even though I may forget those cries for purity in the midst of affliction, I am thankful that God loves me enough to keep heating up the pot, to keep stirring, and to keep skimming every impurity off the top. I am here to purchase Gold refined by the fire that I may be rich in Him–not by this world’s standards–but by HIS! I encourage you to purchase HIS gold, and remember the end result when you feel the heat from the process! Just like we survive the Texas heat, we can survive the trials that are sent to help us–not scorch us!

Isaiah 43:2 — ” When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”

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