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Today’s Truth

“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver”

Malachi 3:3

Friend To Friend

The story is told of a group of women who met each week to study the Bible, hoping to learn more about the nature and character of God and how He works in our lives. The women were puzzled and even a little troubled by the description of God they found in Malachi 3:3, “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” One of the women offered to do a little research on the subject and report back to the group at their next meeting.

The woman found a local silversmith and made an appointment to observe him at work, explaining that she was particularly interested in the process of refining silver. She watched as the craftsman carefully selected a piece of silver for his demonstration. She thought the piece of silver was already beautiful but evidently the silversmith saw something that she could not see. As he held the silver over the furnace, the craftsman explained that in refining silver, the silver had to be placed in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so all of the impurities would be burned away.

The woman was silent for a moment as her thoughts drifted to the fiery trials she was facing in her own life. Honestly, she did not get it. Why would a loving God allow His children to suffer when He could so easily deliver them? In fact, why does God even allow bad things to happen to people who are seeking Him and really trying to live for Him?

The woman asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. “Oh, yes!” he replied. “I cannot take my eyes off the silver. If it is left in the furnace even a moment too long, it will be destroyed.” The woman suddenly understood the beauty and comfort of Malachi 3:3, “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

Yes, there are times when it seems as if we will be swallowed whole by the fires of Hell itself. The pain seems too hard to bear. The fear is paralyzing. The doubt is overwhelming.

Is God really who He says He is?

Will He really do what He says He will do?

Will He really keep His promises?

Our trials are not random persecutions. Heaven is not in a panic. Where we are and what we are going through is no surprise to God. We may be knocked down and kicked around by life, but if we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we will not be destroyed.

Our lives are filled with excess baggage and waste – a cherished sin we refuse to relinquish or an addiction to which we are enslaved. What about the emotional garbage that weighs us down or our unforgiving spirit that holds us prisoner? Fiery trials come to burn away the guilt of sin and then purify our heart. From those ashes of freedom, the Father then creates a work of beauty.

I believe the words I just wrote. I know and accept the truth that trials and hard times make me stronger and strengthen my faith, but there are times when I want it all to stop. I find myself asking, “How much is enough, Lord? How many trials do I have to endure? When will the pain and trouble end?”

“How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” the woman asked. The silversmith smiled and answered, “Oh, that’s easy. The refining process is complete when I can see my image reflected in the silver.”

God is not committed to our comfort. He is committed to our character. Only God can exchange the ashes of our sin for the beauty of His forgiveness and grace. God alone can replace our despair with His peace that passes all understanding. Hope can only be found in Him.

Let’s Pray

Father, I want to be more like You. Give me the strength to withstand the trials in my life. Help me love the people who are hard to love and forgive the people who have hurt and even abused me. Burn away the sin in my life and empower me to live for You. Create a clean heart in me, Lord, and teach me how to live for You.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Journaling is a powerful spiritual discipline and habit that I encourage you to cultivate this year.

Record new truths and insights God gives you as you read and study the Bible. Write your prayers and thoughts. Create a section in your journal where you can record the promises God gives you.

More from the Girlfriends

I know many of you are facing fiery trials. You may be wondering how you can make it through the day or find the strength to face tomorrow. God is with you. He is working in your life. Choose right now to believe Him and walk by faith … not by sight.

Need help?

Do you or someone you love struggle with depression? Mary’s book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, offers practical steps you can take to get out and stay out of that pit.

Be sure to check out Mary’s book excerpts, articles, and FREE MP3s. Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

10 Responses to “In His Image”

  1. Paula says:

    Oh, my goodness. What a timely devotional. I am currently married to a narcissist. I will be divorcing him in a few weeks. Everything I’ve read during my research has let me know that in divorcing him, I will be in the fight of my life. I am so afraid of how this will all go down, how horrible and mean he will be towards me. I hope the courts can see through his charm and not be manipulated by him like I have been. My biggest fear is how I will make it to the other side of all this. In my mind I feel I am approaching the fires of hell itself. I am so comforted by this reminder you provided. I have a list of verses I read to keep my focus and confidence. I added this one to that list. I will be chronicling this journey through journaling. Thank you.

  2. Patricia says:

    Dear Mary,

    Oh how I could relate to your devotion today. I have been through many trials since I have known Jesus as my Savior and Lord. And each time He has brought me through them stronger and more devoted to Him. For we are His Image Bearers and the trials are used to purify us. And I know that He is with me as I go through each trial and His promises are true. Hebrews 13:5 b, “ For He himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.” For we may boldly say: “ The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” ( THE JEREMIAH STUDY BIBLE)

    I thank the Lord for using “Girlfriends In God” in such a powerful way to share the Gospel of Christ. May the good Lord continue to guide you all and richly bless your lives.

    In His Love,
    Patricia

    • Patricia, thank you for your email and the encouraging words. Pain does make us stronger and more secure in God. And these lessons tend to “stick” better, don’t they? Be blessed, friend, and keep praising Him. Blessings!

  3. renee says:

    I read your devotions today. I know what you mean about being in fire and thinking you are going to be consumed by the fire. I have been in the valley for about 6months or longer. I can’t seem to get anything right or even catch a break. I have been praying harder and longer but seems to no avail. I know he loves me but sometimes I fear the distance I feel that seems to be there. I know he has plans for me just have no clue what they are.

    • Renee, thank you for your note. I am so sorry for the pain you are in. Just remember that you walk through valleys … you do not stay in them. And God is with you. Don’t trust your feelings. Trust the Word of God. Choose to praise Him, knowing that His plan is the highest plan for your life. I pray the Father will let you sense His presence and power in a new way. Blessings!

  4. Penney says:

    WOW, this was absolutely beautiful and a perfect message. I thank God for you ladies and I am proud to be a GIG!!!!! I am looking forward to looking like Jesus when He is done with me through each trial. I am grateful that my heart will be changed and l will not be the same on the inside. If trials is what it takes to get me there, then so be it. I’d rather go through refinement with the shedding of the old self than to stay stagnant and never change. Please create in me a new heart and help me to be thankful for the sandpaper that you have allowed in my life because l do have some rough edges. Father l pray that You will continue to bless these women to walk in their purpose and guide us along the way. Thank You for their realness and faithfulness to You and us. Continue to use them to encourage and help bring us to the women that You have called us to be. You women are loved by God first, family and close friends second and then the GIG’s. We are truly blessed by you.

  5. Rebecca Jones says:

    This is a great post, I can relate to that. I had a blogger friend visit the glass blowers and she watched how that was done and her mother in law bought her two expensive vases. The fact God works on us to be His masterpieces, even if others don’t see our values or worth He does.

  6. Doreen says:

    Thank you Girlfriend wow my spirit leaps as I read your devotionals it’s like I am speaking to a great Christian sister , I enjoyed that as much as we need the trials to refine us he is watching us that we are not destroyed. Struck down but not destroyed. Totally uplifted

  7. Jan says:

    I am undergoing some severe health problems, fibromyalgia, immune and neurological pain and dysfunction. I have constant pain and spasms in my back and arms, and I cannot sleep at all. My homeopath says I must detox all the years of bad medicines, foods, allergies,many chemicals, and go through long tests and protocol. Otherwise I’ll be sick and depressed forever… I can’t function and hate to keep taking meds that affect me adversely.
    Thanks for your advice. God’s plans aren’t always ours. Thank you very much.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8