The Refiner’s Fire
by Cathy Bryant, (c) 2008
The white-hot heat pulls me toward it. I resist, knowing the pain will be intense. How can I possibly bear it, Lord? Why would you want me to?
As I draw ever closer to the fiery flames, I fight even harder, my fear grating on my soul like the sound of fingernails tearing down a chalkboard. Lord, I’ve tried to live for you. Why is this happening?
The worth of your faith is greater to Me than gold.
The flames lick at my feet. Sweat and tears combine to trickle down my face, dripping with a sizzle into the inferno I now find myself in. I have no more strength to fight. I surrender to the Refiner’s fire.
A warm peace settles over me as I sense the Refiner at work in me, His eyes as wise and loving as a Father, His hands as gentle and skilled as a surgeon. I know this process will leave scars, but no scars could compare to the ones borne so regally by the Refiner.
It is then I come to understand the searing heat of suffering will only make me more like Him. Though the fire of testing is painful, I accept it, then welcome it. I feel the dross burning away from me, the impurities of my life fodder for the fire, while the flame of glorious joy is lit within my heart.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (I Peter 1:6-9, NIV)
Lord, thank You for counting us worthy to suffer. Thank You that our faith is more valuable to You than all the gold in the world. Help us to know that the testing of our faith produces the fruit of righteousness within us. Help us to recognize that a faith that isn’t tested really isn’t faith at all. Help us to remember that our seasons of suffering only serve to make us stronger and more like You. Thank You for the day when Your work in us will be completed. May we never shy away from the Refiner’s Fire, but instead welcome it with joy.
A Texas gal since birth, Cathy lives in a century-old farmhouse with her husband and a phobia-ridden cat. Her debut novel, TEXAS ROADS, was a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist and tells the story of a disillusioned widow’s quest to find home. The book is available through Amazon.com. For more information, visit www.CatBryant.com.