Weekly Word: Be refined in the fire
By Robert Williams, Lead Pastor, The Bridge Church, Charles City
Have you ever watched the show “Gold Rush?” It’s a show on the Discovery Channel about modern day gold miners up in the Canadian Yukon territory. For a while it was one of my favorite TV shows.
What I love most is all the work the miners have to do to just get a few ounces of gold. They run giant excavating and mining equipment. They tear apart entire mountains and plains. They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars — for a few ounces of gold.
What’s really cool, though, is the process they go through to refine the gold. They do a process called smelting.
Smelting is where you take a mixture of metals and place them into a hot furnace to separate them.
The metal is placed in a fireproof container of some kind (usually made of stone), which is then placed into the furnace to melt the metal down and as the metals melt, something called slag rises to the top. After the metal is cooled, this slag is then beaten off of the gold to refine it and purify it into one element.
Can I be honest with you? This year has been tough for me as a pastor. Frankly, I think it’s been hard on all of us. Some days we may find it harder to press on than others.
Some days it’s tough just to get out of bed. That’s where I was back in July. But you know what I’ve learned? God does some of his best work in the fire.
The apostle Paul knew this. Paul was a former Jewish religious zealot who came to know Jesus. He started out martyring Christians, and then became one. And as he writes to a church in a place called Corinth, he says these very powerful words:
“…do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
The world is hard. There doesn’t seem to be a lot to root for in the world right now, but there is one thing we can be sure of: God is going to use it.
He’s refining us in the fire. He’s working out something that we cannot see. He’s pressing us into heights we could not reach on our own. The only question is where we are looking during this time of struggle.
I had a friend tell me once that if you know how to worry, you know how to meditate. Meditation is something that was meant to bring peace to our hearts and souls. So, let me ask you: What are you fixing your eyes on? What are you meditating on? Is it the news? Is it our government? Is it your trials and difficulties?
Our inclination might be to focus on those things, but Paul calls us to fix our eyes on Jesus.
What can you do to lean into God during this time, that you might be refined in the fire? What can you do to fix your eyes on him?