Yes, I’ll admit it. I am a gold bug. I started buying gold and silver bullion when it was selling for about $700.00 / $15.00 an ounce, respectively. I continue to do that (when I can) because of the dire fiscal and monetary policies that the US / Federal Reserve is currently employing. There is, unfortunately, no intrinsic value in the Federal Reserve Notes (FRN’s- the dollar), and with inflation the purchasing power of our money erodes. Converting worthless (fiat) paper currency into a valuable commodity (gold) preserves its purchasing power. The last time that gold certificates and gold coin currencies were issued was in the 1930’s. In that time, we could walk into any Federal Reserve Bank and ask to convert or redeem any dollar we presented into its intrinsic value of silver or gold. In 1972 President Nixon removed the link between the currency and gold. Then the government began printing, with wild and reckless abandon, our present fiat currency and it hasn’t stopped. Nothing backs up the FRN’s now. All we can get for our FRN is a cheap cup of coffee at a fast food joint.
The USA’s gold and silver bullion is well recognized all over the world because its consistency and purity. This refinery process is a long torturous ordeal changing lumps of mineral ore and dirt scattered with precious metal and impurities to a metal that is .999% pure.
The silver refiner takes these imperfect impure lumps of rocks and metal and purifies them by placing them into a hot fire to melt and burn away all the base metals and impurities within it. Hammering these bits of ore into smaller pieces, he continually heats them in the crucible ever so slowly. The precious silver ore is softened and it begins to melt. As the solid impurities melt and rise to the top the refiner skims off this dross or waste matter leaving the precious metal behind.
This is done over and over as he refiner constantly tends to the fire, adding more fuel as needed. The skilled refiner carefully skims the dirty, smudgy waste away and as he does the purity of the silver increases. He can eventually gaze down upon the molten surface and can see a dim hazy reflection of himself. More work is needed and with increasing heat and skill he skims off more and more impurities. His reflection is sharper than before, but still more work is needed. With constant attention to the relentless hot fire and skillful skimming, more of the dull impurities newly revealed begin to arise. Eventually all the impurities are gone and the silver is refined. When the refiner can see a distinct clear image of himself in the reflection – he knows the metal is pure and his work is finished.
And so it is in our own lives with all its impurities and distractions in life that draw us away from what should be important—a closer relationship with the Lord. In every life there comes days of despair and adversity, buffeted with discouragement and sorrow and heartbreak. Even the righteous fail to escape such days as these. We should be able look back and our tragedies, situations in our lives, seemingly impossible dilemmas’ and recognize that the Lord used that to make us grow, to help us to become more like His Son.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” 1 Peter 4:12
Have you considered that when the pain in your life seems to be its deepest, or the light seems to be the darkest – surrounding the world around you that it may just be a testing ground? As you pass through remember that the refiner never leaves the fire. He always tends to the fire, ever watchful of the precious thing he has in His hands. We can endure as we pass through because we know He is right there, no matter how hard or impossible or dark things appear to be.
Read the story of in Daniel 3 of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were literally thrown into a furnace, but found out that they were not alone. You won’t be alone either.
It may be a place where His fire is able to burn away some your life’s dross that hinders your growth, steals your joy, robbing you of a fruitful future that He has planned for you. As we pass through the fire some of the unimportant stuff we carry around and weigh us down can melt or burn away and lighten our load as we travel. Sometimes sin which grips us in bondage may require the refiner’s fire to burn it away from hearts and releasing us and giving us freedom.
Considered the refiners fire as not an enemy, but welcome it as a friend. If we strive to grow into mature Christians we must pass through the refining fire! We cannot be an effective disciple without the scent of smoke in our spirit. As you further grow -know that more dross will eventually rise to the surface. Embrace the fire knowing it will strengthen your faith and resolve. This refinement often seems too cruel, too hard, and impossible to bear. It can often cause some of us to walk away from the refiner, loose our faith and never receive the things the refinement could give.
“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as Gold” Job 23:10
Those with heavenly resolve and an eternal perspective understand that this is part of His perfection process. If we are faithful and endure, we will come out more purer than we were when we went in. That is why real gold never fears the flame.
“So that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than Gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 1:7
The purity of the metal allows the refiner to gaze into the metal and see himself. That is the end goal of our “Heavenly Refiner”…to be able to see the reflection of His Son when He gazes into us.