Wednesday, December 14, 2011

As Silver Refined...

Have you ever felt like you are being attacked? or Questioned God why? Most of us have at one time or another.

Lately, I have come to the conclusion that the more I try to serve the Lord, the more my families health is attacked. When I say our health, I am not saying life or death illness, just your everyday crud. Let us back up a few weeks.

One of my craft mentors asked me to help with a project for our Mom's group meetings. Can I just tell you that the fact that she asked me, made me feel good in some strange way. I mean, she is amazing and she asked ME!?!? So, I was more then willing to accept this offer! Becky and I had already planned to get together the Tuesday before the group was supposed to meet, just to get things ready. She and I spoke on Monday where she told me she was ill. Like, very ill! So, I told her I would still come to her home, pick up what I would need just in case she could not make it. So, I wake up Wednesday (the day of our meeting) and I still have a bunch of tiles that I need to load, toys for children, a wagon to carry it all in, etc.

Did I mention that my husband has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and was in the middle of a relapse? Thankfully his relapses are not often but, because of this he was home. He was my help. I try very hard not to be late to anything. There was a torrential downpour in Central Alabama that day so, Jamie offered to back my car into the carport so I would not get soaked. Wasn't that sweet??? Before he could do this, I had to move our grill. This is not your average grill. Donna had connections and had it made for us and it weighs approximately 500 pounds. I really don't know the weight but, it took I believe 4 people to get it out of a truck. It's on wheels so I just had to roll it back. Once I moved it, Jamie proceeds to back the brand new van in to his grill. Guess what? The grill did not move and the rear of my van is now cracked!!! So I took a deep breath, finished loading what needed to be loaded and went on my merry way. By the time I got to the highway, I knew it was going to take a long time! Lets see 30 mph in a 70 mph zone.....I AM LATE!

I will try to hurry the story along. I get there, we get the tables arranged just so and the tornado alarm goes off. Little did we know, when the alarm goes off at the public library everyone that is in the library is led to the basement. Not just the basement but, specifically the room that we meet! So my sweet friend AB says, this is the Lord's plan and we are going with it! We start telling everyone that we are making tiles, how to do it, etc.  Just a few decide to come and make one but, one of those few spoke Spanish. Abbie did the best she could trying to explain the 'how to' of the project. You could tell our new friend was quite confused!

Side note: Our regular sitter for our children was not able to make it, AB and I had searched for another one, with no luck, until 12:45AM that morning.

Little did we know, the sitter that was able to help us that morning was fluent in Spanish! Coincidence, I don't think so!!!

We may only have spent a few minutes with a few people that day but, I believe that they felt the love of Jesus through us!

Now, that was November 16th. Since then, I have had a URI that required antibiotic and steroids, Nate and Allie both had strep, Nick currently has a sinus infection, I had the dreaded puking virus Sunday night through Monday morning, and my sweet Allie Grace was diagnosed today with Fifth disease.  All this illness while trying to get ready for the Cookie Swap for the ladies group at the church and a Happy Birthday Cake for Jesus for our children at church.

I was talking (and crying) to my sweet friend Shannon about how I know with all my heart that we are being attacked to prevent me from doing God's work. I even went on to say, the Lord can prevent these things from happening, why won't he protect our family? She remembered a story that she had read and was kind enough to type it out in an email.

I won't torture you any more with my poor writing skills. Instead, I will leave you with great analogy from Kay Arthur's book As Silver Refined.

By Kay Arthur from her book, As Silver Refined 

"Come let me take you back to a Judean village in ancient days. Inside a small, walled courtyard under a blue and blazing sky, there stands a refiner of metals. In his hands, gnarled with age, he is rolling and fingering a lump of ore. He watches the sun play on the streaks and veins of lead and other minerals running through this bit of rock chiseled from the bowels of earth. His experienced eye knows that, intermingled within this ore, there is silver.

He lays the ore on his worktable then builds his fire with care and the wisdom of years. Soon the flames are rising in the pit situated against the courtyard's stone wall. At the worktable he picks up his hammer and begins crushing the lump into smaller pieces. He pauses occasionally to stare at the fire, as if in study. From time to time, he places more fuel upon the already-blazing coals and works his bellows until the flames are in a frenzy. When the fire is right, he gathers the hammered bits of ore from the place of their crushing and lays them in a small, sturdy container of tempered pottery, his crucible.  

He places the crucible in the fire and sits down beside it. A long day is before him, and this is where he will stay for as long as the metal is subject to the flames. Silver is too precious to be forsaken in the furnace, too valuable to be ruined through inattention. Carefully he watches the fire. It must be maintained at exactly the right temperature for the right duration of time to accomplish its purpose. Slowly the ore softens. The silver, with its greater density and lower melting point, liquefies first, hissing and bulling as oxygen is released. The still-solid impurities rise to the top of the molten metal. This is the dross, and the refiner skims it off. 

Now he adds bits of charcoal inside the crucible. He knows this will enhance the sheen of the silver. The carbon of the charcoal will keep the refined metal from reabsorbing oxygen from the air which would only dull its finish. He tends the fire, adds more fuel, and applies more air from the bellows. Amid the relentless heat surrounding the crucible, more dull impurities newly revealed, rise to the surface of the mixture. Again the refiner carefully skims away the murky, smudgy metal floating at the top of the crucible. Gazing down up the molten surface, the refiner sees at best a dim reflection of himself.  

The refiner works and watches and waits. The heat and its effect continue. More impurities rise to the surface, and again he skims them off. He never leaves the crucible unattended, never steps away from the fire he has formed to do its work. The finished product he cherishes demands this process. Only his guided and guarded refinement will yield the promised and precious metal.

And yet he is still not satisfied.

He lets the fire cool. Eventually he sets the crucible aside. Then once again he builds up the fire, and the process begins all over again. This time the skilled refiner makes the fire hotter. Within the crucible, new impurities are released, brought to the surface, exposed for what they are; then skimmed off.

 Finally his leathery face breaks into a smile, for now as he gazes into the liquid silver his reflection is apparent - not yet sharp, but more distinct than before. More hours pass as he perseveres in his anxious and delicate work. And then.... once more he bends over the crucible, and this time he catches his breath.

There it is! In the silver he sees what he has waited for so patiently: a clear image of himself, distinct and sharp. Delight banishes his frown. His task is done. The impurities are gone. The silver is refined. He has his treasure. He has "choice" silver, the most lustrous of all metals, beautiful and highly valued. The refiner has taken what was impure and made it pure. What was dull and made it beautiful. Potential value had become actual value. And the fire - the guarded, guided, relentless fire - made the difference. The fire allowed ordinary ore from the earth to be transformed into treasure. All under the refiners watchful care, for all the while he never left it unattended.

1 Peter 1:7 "that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

My prayer for you is that when you don't understand why, that you will remember that God is purifying your heart.

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