I will bring that group through the fire
and make them pure.
I will refine them like silver
and purify them like gold.
They will call on my name,
and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘These are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”
If you know anything about the process of refining gold, you know that not a single part of it is pleasant. Gold, in it's original state is not pure gold. This is what it looks like:
So, in order to get it to the desired state, the lump above has to be liquefied and separated. The impurities have to be removed. In the process of separating the gold, the impurities float to the surface, and the gold sinks to the bottom. Same is true when we separate from our sins. We can't get rid of them if we don't allow them to come to the surface. That means that everything that we want to keep secret because we are ashamed of them will remain in our lives and in our hearts until we muster the courage to be real with it and allow it to surface so we can deal with it. Only then, can the next process begin:
Probably the most unpleasant part of the refining process is going through the fire. The gold is placed into the fire and refined by almost 1900 degrees of fire. In this process, the impurities are completely removed from the gold. Of course, allowing your sins, and the things we are ashamed of to come to the surface is painful. Sometimes, when we are being refined, when we get to the hardest, most painful part, we want to give up. We "can't take the heat". Little do we know, when we get to that point, we are almost done! Just a little while longer and we will be this:
Shiny gold. This gold has a story, and it was not a simple, easy one. It is a story of being melted into the hands of the engineer who knows exactly what he is doing. If you don't allow the heating process to take place, you end up looking like mud. I can't find a picture, but i watched a video on the refining process, and the gold before it goes through the fire looks like mud! Who wants to be mud?
That is why God tells us:
"This is my command-
Be strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the Lord, your God is with you
where ever you go.
It takes courage to endure this process. I have endured it countless times. And I can tell you from experience that when I felt like i just could not take it any longer, that was actually the end of it. Be strong and courageous. The fire is the hardest, yet most important part of gold becoming what it is supposed to be.