Sometimes life throws a curve-ball our way. Sometimes, it throws about 20 curve-balls our way! Have you ever wondered how much worse could it get? Can anything else go wrong…only to have the worst happen the very next day? I’ve noticed this seems to happen a lot. Life will be pretty good with its normal ups and downs, and then all of a sudden WHAM!!!! Right out of nowhere the floodgates open and you get inundated with an abundance of the worst possible situations. And then, just when it should be getting better…something else happens.
Some people call this fate. Some call it karma. Some may say you are getting judged, some say it’s just bad luck. I would like to call it something different: Refining.
When precious metals are mined, they don’t come out of the ground ready to slip on your finger as a lovely ring, or hang around your neck as a necklace. Instead, they must first go through a process called refinement. Gold, for instance, goes through and extremely complicated process. It starts out in the ground, then is mined out. Once the gold ore (rocks containing gold), is removed from the mine, it is then broken down into smaller and smaller pieces, then ground into powder. Next, it goes through a process in which the gold is chemically separated from the rock. Then the gold is melted and formed into bars, which then get melted all over again and processed even more to remove impurities. Then you have pure gold, which although lovely, is not strong enough for most purposes, so the gold is melded with other, stronger metals to create alloys that strengthen the gold into a form that can be more versatile.
I believe that the refining process can teach us a lot about what God does with us. We start out as rough stones, sometimes with so little gold in us that it is completely invisible. Then God uses life circumstances to break us down, grind us up, and get the gold out into a usable form. Even then, He’s usually not done with us, but creates strong alloys of us so that we can be used for even greater purposes. And he never leaves us in ugly lumps, but continues to shape and refine us until we are beautiful creations that reflect His image.
Another interesting thought…Gold never complains about its circumstances. You don’t hear gold yelling, “Hey, it’s hot in this furnace!!! Let me out! I don’t want to be refined!!!!” No, it allows the process to continue until the gold is at its most pure, and it is shaped into the form it was created to hold. We are born sinful, ugly, useless people…until we are mined out of the ground by God’s hand and smelted and refined into instruments capable of doing whatever He desires. This is not an easy process. It was never intended to be! But next time the world seems to come crashing down on you, think about the refining process and thank God that He was not willing to leave you in an unfinished state, but has continued to refine and purify you so that you can be a true reflection of His beauty!
What are some of the refining processes in your life right now? Pray about them and seek God’s wisdom for how He intends you to grow through them!