There was a time in my childhood that my grandmother polished real silver to set for special dinners. I remember peeking inside the cherry-wood box and seeing the tarnished tableware. I was impressed by the flowery design. Certainly, as a 5 year old child we owned nothing as grand. Gramma said, “We need to polish it up for Christmas dinner.” And so she would give me the polishing cloth and I’d do the job needed – for a short time. She’d applied the cleaner, and I’d rub it into each piece. That time was precious.
As we go through trials and difficult situations, what is God’s purpose to allow pain or discomfort? I asked myself that often during the first days after my breast cancer diagnosis and the ensuing surgery and treatments. It was already a difficult year. I couldn’t imagine that God had a plan for me in those difficulties. Yet, I was precious to Him, and he would prepare me for something greater.
Prepared like Precious Silver
He told Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The same is true for each one of us. The future may not be what we expect, or can even imagine. It may not be an easy path and it may be a short path that ends in an eternal future. Even the shortened path to eternity is a future of precious hope and prosperity planned by God’s timing.
God showed Israel how He was preparing them for future events. “For the sake of My name I delay My wrath, And for My praise I restrain it for you, In order not to cut you off. “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another” Isaiah 48:10
Not only did He tell them that he would test them, taking them through fire, but He claimed the glory that is rightfully His!
Psalm 12:6 explains how silver is refined through fire and then becomes pure. “The LORD’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.” Psalm 12:6
Silver is embedded in different metals such as copper, zinc and lead. The metals are fired and heated several times to burn off the undesired metals and imperfections, leaving the silver. Burning off tests the worth of the metals to see the silver or gold.
“The goal of the silversmith or goldsmith is to fashion a precious metal until it is pure and shines bright. He heats and works with his metal until he can see his reflection in it.” https://lindakruschke.wordpress.com
We are made in God’s image, perfect as He intended in whatever condition we are found in our physical body. Regardless of any twisted parts, limbs that don’t function well, or eyes or ears that are not 100% accurate; it is our souls, our own selves that house God’s own comforter. When our selves are not in tune with the perfect house for God’s Holy Spirit, then testing may happen.
Our faith sometimes falters (as mine did) in the face of a devastating crisis. How do we handle the it? Are we angry, bitter, and fear? Do our loved ones see God’s glory, comfort, or His purpose in our lives? Will they see God’s love and comfort, and His ultimate joy?
Perhaps God will need to take us through a refining process in order to make us stronger and more worthy. Perhaps the crisis is meant to give us a “better future” of an unfaltering faith, leaving our weak, questioning faith behind.
As in the burning away the layers of metals in the silver or gold; God may be burning away our self-imposed limitations, flaws, and weak areas by using affliction to prepare us for a “future” that only He knows about. It is a future with hope and one to prosper each of us.
Burning away the flaws to return us to perfection- to His perfect image, glorifies Him. This is His hope for us, and our future of prosperity.
A crisis such as cancer makes us a witness by way of the refining process. The shock and dismay, pain, and recovery leads to either a closer walk with Jesus; or leaves us in a heap of burned-off defective flaws. We may deny Him in our words and actions by hanging onto disappointment, fear, anger and bitterness. We give God the glory in victory by claiming our faith in Him and letting Him shine through the trials.
As God refines my attitude and actions, I will shine! His reflection will be shown in my life!
“I know now, on a deep level, that polish comes through trouble and that not a single heartbreak in one’s lifetime need go to waste. All things can be used of God to develop in a believer an unshakeable trust in Him. He is the Rock of Ages and I am confident that He holds me tight in the place cleft especially for me.” – Donna Gundersen Hailson
April Boyer @ 2017