Thursday, August 11, 2011

Refiner's Fire

Missionary Amy Carmichael wrote in Gold Cord about what she learned on an outing with the Indian orphans in her care:
One day we took the children to see a goldsmith refine gold after the ancient manner of the East. He was sitting beside his little charcoal-fire. (He shall sit as a refiner: the gold or silversmith never leaves his crucible once it is on the fire.) In the red glow lay a common curved roof-tile; another tile covered it like a lid. This was the crucible. In it was the medicine made of salt, tamarind fruit and burnt brick-dust, and embedded in it was the gold. The medicine does its appointed work on the gold, "then the fire eats it," and the goldsmith lifts the gold out with a pair of tongs, lets it cool, rubs it between his fingers, and if not satisfied puts it back again in fresh medicine. This time he blows the fire hotter than it was before, and each time he puts the gold into the crucible the heat of the fire is increased: "It could not bear it so hot at first, but it can bear it now." "How do you know when the gold is purified?" we asked him, and he answered, "When I can see my face in it [the liquid gold in the crucible] then it is pure" (pp.69-70.)
For a variation on the theme from my poetry stash, try this on for size:

Sonnet from the Fire

How hot the flames burn round my alloyed soul!
My heart churns wildly—restless, tossed with fears,
Dross rising to the surface, bathed in tears.
I cry out, “Jesus, cleanse me; make me whole!”
The skilled Refiner’s hand still stokes the fire;
The flames I think unbearable climb higher.
Still more dross rises; will there be no end
To fiercer heat that purges hidden sin?
“Dost thou not know?” the Master Smith inquires.
“The kettle bears the fiercest heat, not thee.
Thou knowest no flame save that which scorches Me.
I know thy nature; thou wilt stand the fire.
Thou shalt not perish, but shall shine forth grace
When once I look on thee and see My face.”
crm, 7/1997

Beloved, if this finds you in the midst of the heat of affliction, may God grant you comfort in His presence in the furnace with you, in His wisdom to know exactly how much will refine and how much will destroy, and in His sure promise that eternity will reveal the brevity of these trials and the greater glory gained through them.  I don't know what you are walking through, but the Lord Jesus does, and He is near to all who call.

P.S. Physical therapy is hard work but going well. The therapist saw definite progress yesterday, and the pain is much less today than it has been in some time. I enjoyed the fellowship with S.S. from church who provided my transportation help for this week's appointments. Now it's just diligent daily homework until my next appointment Monday.Thanks for your kind prayers!


  1. It's good that you are staying in the fire of physical therapy. Some people stop before the "heat" does its work. Praying it continues to reduce your pain in the long run.

    Beautiful poem and beautiful message! So glad you shared this.

  2. Praying for you, dear friend. I treasure your poetry, as always.

  3. Beautiful. Have you ever heard the song "Refiner's Fire" -- words include-- "The Refiner's Fire, has now become my one desire." So glad physical therapy is helping. Praise the Refiner!

  4. Brings to mind I Peter 1:7. Good for you, Christina, for clinging to your faith and Father even when times are tough.

  5. Thank you, friends. Amy, I do know and like that song. Brandee, 1 Peter 1:7 was the verse I had in mind for that last prayer bit, too.

    The week has gotten better along the way. The timing of sharing these thoughts stemmed not so much from my feeling of increased heat as a sense I should share an old poem that inexplicably popped back into my mind. Just so you don't worry overmuch... A blessed weekend to you all!


  6. I love that Amy Carmichal story...More of Him...less of me...

  7. @journeytoepiphany Amen! Yes, it still amazes me how much dross even little flickers of circumstances dredge up. Grace and peace to you.

  8. I know how hard physical therapy can be – it can be a fire – and what lisa wrote in the first comment is so true – so many quit before the fire gets a chance to do what it is supposed to. And it's like in life too. I can't expect to be his without being targeted by an enemy. I can't expect to be his and have things go easily just because of whose child I am. I have to expect for life to provide some heat, and our Lord to provide some heat, and then I stir it up myself sometimes to – and it all refines me if I give in to his refining touch. I hearted this – lots. Thank you. And God bless and keep you Christina.


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.