Friday, December 29, 2006

Refiner’s fire: A reflection of the face of God

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

1 John 3:2

Come forth as gold

Amy Carmichael

Through these months, acceptance has been a word of liberty and victory and peace to me. But it never meant acquiescence in illness, as though evil circumstances were from Him who delights to deck His servants in health.

But it did mean contentment with the unexplained.

Neither Job nor Paul knew (so far as we know) why prayer for relief was answered as it was – with long, initial silence. But I think they must now stand in awe and joy, as they meet others in the heavenly country who were strengthened and comforted by their patience and courage. They must stand in awe, too, as they understand now the Father’s thoughts of peace toward them!

Hardly a life goes deep but has tragedy somewhere in it: What would such people do without Job? And who could spare from the soul’s hidden history the great words spoken by the Apostle Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” [2 Cor. 12:9]. Such words lead straight to a land where there is gold, and the gold of that land is good.

Gold – the word recalls Job’s affirmation: “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold” [Job 23:10]. And it recalls the ringing words of the Apostle Peter: “[All kinds of trials come] so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine” [1 Peter 1:7]. And it brings the quiet words of Malachi: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver…” [Malachi 3:3].

The picture of the Refiner is straight from Eastern life. The Eastern goldsmith sits on the floor by his crucible. For me, at least, it is not hard to know why the heavenly Refiner has to sit so long. The heart knows its own dross.

“How do you know how long to sit and wait? How do you know when it is purified?” we asked our village goldsmith.

“When I can see my face in it,” he replied.

Blessed be the love that never wearies, never gives up hope! even in such poor metal our Father may at last see the reflection of His face.


My Father, if you are working into me some traits I would not have chosen to work on myself [for example, patience!], then I ask for your grace to carry me through.

‘Purify’ me of everything but perfect acceptance in you…


Amy Carmicheal, Rose from Brier, 3.

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