Saturday, 24 March 2018

I am refined. Isaiah 48:10

  "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." NKJV
  "I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. I have refined you in the furnace of suffering." JCB

  Metal testing is a process or procedure used to check composition of an unknown metallic substance. There are destructive processes and non-destructive processes. Metal testing can also include, determining the properties of newly forged metal alloys. Wikipedia.

  I enjoy watching Forged in Fire on the History channel where weapon smiths compete against each other for a prize. Swords, knives and historical weapons are fashioned from recyclable items like antique farm implements. It's a bit of an odd thing but it fascinates me.
  One time a competitor was sent home because he had simply cut his knife out of a flat piece of steel then sharpened it on a grinding wheel. A short-cut that missed the whole idea of forging. (A wonderful metaphor for how satan works!)
  Forging takes a great deal of knowledge and care. If the fires are too hot, the metal will warp and twist. If the fires are too cool, hammering causes cracks to appear. If the hot metal is cooled in a water bath too soon, it will become brittle. Too late and the finished product ends up as sharp as butter with an edge that will roll and crumple when tested.
  It's a violent process yet one filled with finesse. The smiths know exactly where to hammer and when. They know exactly when the metal needs to go back into the furnace so it can be shaped further. It takes patience. To rush is to fail and end up with something no better than the scrap iron it started as.
  Interestingly, some of the metal being heated and hammered vanishes in the process. A finished product always weighs less than the raw material. Some of that lost weight is through the burning off of impurities. They can't be seen with the naked eye but they are there nonetheless.
  It's no wonder the Lord uses the idea of a furnace and refining to exemplify His work in our lives.

  Out of curiosity, I Googled some information about silver. Pure silver is a bi-product left behind from refining lead, copper and other metal ores. Hmmm...something to think about!

  I know the idea of a follower of Jesus suffering seems almost sinful.. "I have the Lord, I should be happy! ALL THE TIME!"
  Let's be real about this. Suffering rages all around us. Temptation, insecurities, doubt, grief, hurt...hunger, fear, loss...condemnation, prejudice, hate...struggling to move forward, to forgive...Suffering is to be human.
  Jesus got it. In the desert when He suffered through hunger and thirst and overcame the devil's temptations. He suffered our grief to the point of tears when Lazarus died because only He knew a miracle was going to take place. Maybe part of His tears were because He knew all we saw was death, not the possibilities.
  He suffered terribly in Gethsemane as He faced down what was going to happen to Him. He, being guiltless, suffered betrayal, hatred and condemnation. Then, in the ultimate act of love, He suffered to bear our sins on the Cross.
  So that we may come before our Father in Heaven to ease our sufferings and to be refined through the sure knowledge and joy that God is with us, lovingly tempering and shaping us to do His work.




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