Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Refiner's Fire

Have you ever watched a documentary or done any reading about the process gold, silver and other precious metals go through to bring out their glorious shine? Full of impurities, these metals in their natural state aren’t anything wonderful to look at; however all that changes when they go through fire. And not just any old fire, but the controlled, hot fire of a refiner.

The idea of going through fire is scary. Fire implies pain, and complete destruction. But the refiner’s fire is different. At the hand of a loving, skilled refiner, a refiner’s fire is one of hope, not annihilation. A refiner sits by the flame, his eye never leaving the metal entrusted to his care; and when he can see his reflection in the precious metal, he knows it’s time to remove it.

Malachi 3:2 refers to God as a Refiner; and much like the fire that metals endure to reveal their beauty, we too can be put through fiery times that can make us question God’s purpose. It’s in those moments however, that we must cling tightly to the Refiner, trusting that, though painful and beyond comprehension, He is watching over us and will not let the fire destroy us. He IS good, and He WILL prove Himself faithful. Until then, He’ll give us the strength to endure it. He'll hold us in His hand… and never let go.


Many years ago I had the privilege of spending time with two amazing men of God, both of whom had walked through the fire at some point in their Christian journey. One of them wrote the following song, and other sang it. Their work speaks to me even now, some 25 years later. 

The Refiner's Fire (as sung by Steve Green)
There burns a fire with sacred heat
White hot with holy flame
And all who dare pass through its blaze
Will not emerge the same
Some as bronze, and some as silver
Some as gold, then with great skill
All are hammered by their sufferings
On the anvil of His will

I'm learning now to trust His touch
To crave the fire's embrace
For though my past with sin was etched
His mercies did erase
Each time His purging cleanses deeper
I'm not sure that I'll survive
Yet the strength in growing weaker
Keeps my hungry soul alive

Chorus: The Refiner's fire
Has now become my souls desire
Purged and cleansed and purified
That the Lord be glorified
He is consuming my soul
Refining me, making me whole
No matter what I may lose
I choose the Refiner's fire

Words and music by Jon Mohr and Randall Dennis
Copyright 1989 Birdwing Music/Jonathan Mark Music (admin. by Gaither copyright management)/J.R. Dennis Music. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.