What does it mean to be refined?
According to Dictionary.com, refine means:
- To bring to a fine or pure state; free from impurities
- To purify from what is coarse, vulgar, or debasing; make elegant or cultured.
Most of us never ask to be refined. God allows our circumstances—whether our own doing or someone else’s doing—to refine our lives.
The day we received the phone call that our son had been arrested, my initial reaction was to write out Romans 8:28–
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (NKJV)
Then I turned that Scripture into a prayer. I’ll be honest, when I prayed that Scripture back to God, my desire was for Him to keep my son from to going to prison. To me that would be good.
My son, Stephen, surrendered his life to Christ in the county jail before the trial. Isn’t that what God wants is for us to come to Him through His Son?
In my mind, since Jesus came to set the captives free and Stephen received Jesus, then after the trial Stephen would be free.
But the expectation I set up in my mind was not what happened. Stephen was convicted and sent to prison.
When my son was sent to prison, we lived in El Paso, Texas. As I walked and talked with the Lord daily, I looked at the mountain in the distance. The words El Paso kept coming to my thoughts, so when I got home I put the Spanish words in the Spanish-English translator.
Paso literally means “step.” Or it can mean the passing of time. As it relates to geography, it means a pass as in a mountain pass. (Source: Spanishdict.com)
After seeing the meaning of El Paso, I kept thinking about passing or the pass and then the phrase “When you pass through” came to my thoughts. So I did what most of us do now, I googled the phrase and Isaiah 43:2 popped up. It reads:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you. (NKJV)
Those words from Isaiah 43:2 brought a great deal of comfort to me. Yes, we were passing through the waters, but the Lord was with us. We walked (or stepped) through the fire, but God promised we would not be burned. Then I realized that the Lord placed me in His refining process to test my heart.
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the Lord tests the hearts. (Proverbs 17:3 NKJV)
You see my friend, I prayed that prayer from Romans 8:28 as if I were playing my “get out of jail free” card in Monopoly on behalf of my son. But God placed me in the refiner’s fire to purify my heart in response to praying for Him to work all things out for good.
God began to purge out all the things that hindered my relationship with Him.
The Lord uses our circumstances to refine our faith in Him and purify our hearts. This is a process, but understand we do not stay in the fire—we pass through!
“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” (1 Peter 1:7 NLT).
Whatever your circumstances are, the Lord uses those as fire to purge us of the things that hinder our relationship with Him. When we pass through, our faith is more precious than gold!
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© 2017 Shonda Savage