Too often I find myself taking past experiences and using hindsight to learn great lessons. Hindsight is great for just that. Looking backward, wiping away the dust and the soot, and seeing what remarkable things rise from the ashes. What if you don't have any hindsight yet? What if right now, you are submerged in the most difficult trials of your life? My aunt was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia about 5 years ago. It may not have been that long ago. At the time her diagnosis was devastating to those of us in her family and friends who couldn't imagine the pain and trial she'd go through. A few weeks ago, her doctors told her there was nothing left to do but go home and ready herself to die. She wants to hold on until some other family members return from an LDS mission overseas, but the disease causes great pain, horrific bruising, and total weakness. Holding on will be a trial for her and those around her.
However, After she's gone, the trial of fire will only begin for her husband, children, and grandchildren. When does the hindsight come. At what point during this process will they look back and see the end of the refiner's fire? I wish I knew the answer to that.
Each day in our life, to some extent is a refiner's fire. Some days a glowing tinder that warms a lonely heart. Some days the sting of a too hot coal scorching bare flesh in chastisement. And Some days a consuming conflagration from which there doesn't seem to be an escape. When we find ourselves thrust into the furnace of purification try to imagine:
In Malachi 3:3 the prophet speaks of Christ as "The silver refiner." Now, let me share with you what a silver refiner's job is...
The silver smith takes a lump of mixed metals, rock, and impurities and sends it on the end of a long handled spoon type instrument, into the hottest part of the fire. As the flax, impurities, and other metals burn away, the silver congeals, draws itself into a large puddle and begins to turn to pure liquid. The silver smith must hold the instrument in the center of the furnace, his own face burning with the heat, his arms holding the silver out of the flames. No matter how tired, uncomfortable, or impatient he gets, the silver will be ruined if he doesn't hold it, out of the fire for exactly the right amount of time.
How much time? You ask. Its actually very specific. When The Silver Refiner sees his reflection in the silver, It is pure!
If he withdraws it from the furnace one moment too early or one moment too late...Its ruined.
Sometimes it seems the fire will always burn. That the furnace is your permanent home. Just remember, he is only holding you above the flame, not thrusting you deep into it's eternal depths. It will only last as long as it takes for your impurities too burn away and then you will reflect His countenance. If you're deep in the flames, hold on. He is propping you up, absorbing some of the heat and keeping his eyes on you at all times. He doesn't mind your tears, your doubt, or your fear that He has forgotten you in the flame. He can take it. He is only an arm's length away.