Posted by: bellissimanh | October 17, 2007

Refiner’s Fire

The Refiner’s Fire

There is a Holy fire
That burns with righteous heat.
Though entering there will bring me pain,
The reward is oh, so sweet.
Lord, let the flames lick up at me,
Cleanse and purge me now.
Correct me, teach me, make me new
With Your sanctifying power.
This sacred fire can get so hot,
I fear I won’t endure,
Yet, Lord, I know You’ll use this test
To refine and make me pure.
May Your fire rain down upon me,
Nothing now withhold…
Hammer me on Your anvil of love,
That I might emerge shining as gold.

 

****************************************************  

 I wrote this about 10 years ago.  I was going through a difficult time, adjusting to being a newly single mother of two. I had a restraining order against my abusive and unstable ex-husband (who was faithful to stay 500 feet away… just barely – which left ME a bit emotionally unstable). I was feeling very weak and weary. I didn’t know what purpose God had for all of this, but I did trust Him. I knew that He would use everything He was leading me through for my good and His glory.  I spent a lot of time seeking Him in those days. I clung to Him as if He were the very key to my sanity – and He was. I desperately wanted to know Him more… to know what His will for my life was. I knew I needed to be a godly mother to my girls, but with trying to work to support us, homeschooling Jessica, and trying to reassure the girls (when I was so anxious myself I couldn’t even think clearly most days)… I knew I needed His strength and wisdom to make it through. And so I sought Him… perhaps more than I ever had in my life before. Out of those moments of total dependence grew an abiding trust in my Savior. I knew that He would work through my circumstances to accomplish His will for me. I knew there was a method to the apparent madness… and the lyrics above were born as a result of that knowledge.

Little did I know that two years later, the idea of being in the Refiner’s Fire would take on even more meaning for me. The cirumstances were different, but the cry of my heart was the same: “Make me like You, Lord… whatever it takes. Use this crisis to mold me into the woman You desire for me to be.” He is faithful. I look back and read some of my thoughts from those frightening days (way outdated – scroll to the bottom for the early journal entries – mine begin on January 26th), and I wonder who that woman was writing those things. I know that it is only God’s grace that carried me through, and I can see how He was ever present, using the trial to reveal Himself to me in a way more intimate than I had ever known before… to teach me what it means to absolutely depend on Him… to test my faith and to strengthen it… and to refine me. And that’s just how I was blessed in the buffeting!

There are times in this Christian life that we experience the Refiner’s fire. It is necessary for us to feel the heat so that we may be made pure and holy. John Piper says that “…God will have no alloys in heaven.”

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)

This fire is not like an incinerator fire that consumes completely.  It purifies. It takes the silver or gold and melts it down, separating the impurities that ruin its value. It burns away the dross, leaving the precious metal intact. It is a SAFE fire.

“I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed — you are not destroyed.” (Malachi 3:6)

Piper notes: “It does say FIRE. And therefore purity and holiness will always be a dreadful thing. There will always be a proper ‘fear and trembling’ in the process of becoming pure. We learn if from the time we are little children: never play with fire! And it’s a good lesson! Therefore, Christianity is never a play thing. And the passion for purity is never flippant. He is like fire and fire is serious. You don’t fool around with it.”

How is your attitude towards the Refiner’s fire? Do you view holiness and purity as a “dreadful thing”?  When put into the furnace, what is your response?

“Now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold, which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

From the time I was a teenager, James has always been my favorite book of the Bible. I never really had a specific reason, I was just drawn to it. In retrospect, I see that the truth of this verse has been something that has resonated deep within me over the course of my life…

“Count it all joy, my brethren when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

I believe the Lord puts us through His refining fire repeatedly, as our spiritual condition requires. The fire is not always dramatic. Although I have seen God work in situations that were huge and unmistakable, I believe He does the same at times when we don’t even realize we are being put into the fire until the temperature reaches the boiling point. Events that are not earth shattering, but are certainly life changing, because He is in them.  Even now, as I still feel the sting of my most recent bout in the Refiner’s fire, I pray that He will continue to lovingly place me in the flame, until my heart is so burnished that when He gazes upon it, He can see His reflection.

Humble and Holy.

Passionate and Prayerful.

Unadulterated and Unalloyed.

Pristine and purified.

In Christ alone… to Him be the glory and honor both now and forever more.

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Responses

  1. I have read this passage several times in the past few weeks – not on purpose, different things have drawn me to it. It was the first thing I thought of when I read your post.

    Romans 12:12-21 (New Living Translation)
    New Living Translation (NLT)

    12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
    17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. 20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

  2. Oops – meant to also say:

    I’m so sorry that you’re in the middle of a tough time right now. I’ll keep you in my prayers, Heather. You stay strong, honey. He will be your strength. Keep calling on Him.

  3. If I could just keep that in mind while I go through the trial that it is all working out the dross in my life and that I should count it all joy, because it’s working to make me more like Christ… afterall, He did say His burden is light and yoke was easy. As usual, Awesome blog, really appreciate your testimony and perspective – anything of great value has gone through much purging – I see that theme played over and over again as I look at lives I admire, people in the past and present who have come through great tribulation, but have such character, such courage, such faith. Gives me hope:) Okay, this is turning out to my own blog… great thoughts!

  4. Wow! I just finished reading this post and the one about Jasmine. No wonder! Now I know where the passion and maturity come from. Thank you for sharing these testimonies of trial and God’s faithfulness. You have been a great encouragement.

    Kate

  5. “…God will have no alloys in heaven.” I love, love, love this quote! Sometimes I feel like a piece of molten metal because of the number of times I’ve been through the furnace, but I know that my good is His goal, praise God!

    I’ll be praying that you come out of this period of refinement stronger and more beautiful than you were before.

  6. Thank you for your honest about where you have been and God’s hand in your life. This is truly a testimony to God’s faithfulness. AS we walk with Him and see His hand in our lives, we can rely on Him more and more deeply. We can trust Him in our trials and know that they are for a greater glory.

  7. Truly, truly moved by your vulnerability and wisdom. Jasmine… 2 Cor. 2:14-16 She is truly the fragrance of Christ.

    Thank you, Heather…
    As the safe fire burns… you will shine… you will reflect… and YOU will be radiant!

  8. Well said, Heather. The poem resonates in my heart…I may even print it and think upon it. I hope that’s ok.

    I want Him to purify me and then I don’t, but when it happens, I’m so very glad.
    I’m a little behind in reading and will come back soon!
    Love in Him,
    Holly

  9. Yes, I had read your essay on that horrible experience… I was amazed at the time, and still am. The fact that you can say what you do on your blog brings much glory to the Father. I am reminded of this quote : “…in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom, through the awful grace of God.”
    We tend to think of grace as being a warm, fuzzy, but it’s not always, is it? Mercy can seem cruel… but “behind a frowning providence there hides a smiling face.”
    You’ve had just a peek behind that frowning providence, which is why you don’t recognize that woman from before – you’ve been changed by the sight. It’s enough to give one HOPE! 🙂

  10. Heather, this is beautiful. I know what it feels like to cling to my Savior for my sanity. I’ve been there. And yes, out of those moments grew security and trust in my Savior.

    Wonderful post.
    Blessings,
    Sue

  11. wow, what words. thank you for them. I need to print this post out and put it on my fridge! (And give it to a few friends.) The fact that its a SAFE fire, I have never thought of before. Its not an incinerator, even if it feels like it will be! I felt the spirit in the last few words you wrote in bold. Thank you.

  12. Ps… One of my friends told me this.. You cant talk about the fire unless you have been through the fire. We are all depending on each other’s testimonies.. We will overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. I need you! You need me! Isnt that beautiful? You have me stirred this morning, girl! 🙂

  13. Your testimony and Jasmine’s has left me speechless.

    God is so good. I know you look at that sweet face and see the goodness of the Father reflected in her eyes.

    Thank you for sharing your story and your wisdom.

    I love getting to know more about you.

  14. […] He has used all of it as a Refiner’s fire — so that I can become the woman He designed for me to be. His dream for my life is so much […]

  15. […] to the description of this event in my life (I’d take up way too much space here!). In short, nearly losing a child was something I believe the enemy was hoping would destroy my faith and my testimony, but instead, […]

  16. […] only is He with me in this process, He is revealing the genuineness of my faith. As men use fire to refine precious metals, the Lord is using this thing that He has allowed into my life to distinguish my […]

  17. […] only is He with me in this process, He is revealing the genuineness of my faith. As men use fire to refine precious metals, the Lord is using this thing that He has allowed into my life to distinguish my […]

  18. […] you’ve known me for very long, you’ll know that the theme of the Refiner’s Fire is something I have always been drawn to, so it won’t surprise you to hear that this morning, […]


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