Refiner’s Fire

I can think of no better illustration of what it means to be refined under God’s hand until we start to resemble our Maker than the following:

“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 imbedded 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; what would have destroyed it then helps 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’” (Amy Carmichael, Gold Cord).

When God sees His face in us, then we shall be pure.

“Like a refiner of silver,
    He will purify the descendants of Levi—
Until they are pure, unalloyed gold and silver.
    Then they will draw near to the Eternal One,
Presenting offerings with righteous, clean hands” (Malachi 3:3, The Voice)

 

Music I Heard: For All The Ones I’ve Lost

While this year for me is a happy time, it’s also brings a bit of sadness with it. The memories of those I’ve loved and lost come more alive at this time of year than at any other time. I’ve been thinking about a particular poem by Conrad Aiken that makes me think of family members whom I wish I could talk to but never will again this side of heaven:

“Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread;
Now that I am without you, all is desolate;
All that was once so beautiful is dead.

Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved,
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.

For it was in my heart that you moved among them,
And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes;
And in my heart they will remember always, –
They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.”

The good news is that there is the other side of heaven where I WILL see all these people again. And Jesus will be there to wipe away every tear from my (and everyone else’s) eyes.