Suffering–Part of Our Earthly Story

I wrote this poem as I pondered the truths in Malachi 3:2-3.

The Refiner’s Fire

As the silversmith prepares his refiner’s fire for the task at hand, his goal is to see the metal become clean and pure, useable for the purpose intended.  The creative artist has a plan for this precious metal and sets about putting all things in order so that his masterpiece will be achieved.

He knows what it will take.

Fueling his furnace, he stokes it until the fire reaches just the right temperature. Placing the silver into the crucible, the fire begins to burn the worthless, or dangerous, materials away–the ugly dross that mars the beauty of this precious metal, rendering it less valuable to the one who beholds its final state. Watching intently—never letting the fire grow hotter than the metal can stand–the silversmith stands guard. The metal suffers under the heat until the dross lets go and burns away.

Refining Silver

As I was pondering this process of the refiner’s fire, and the burning away of dross, I ran across a sweet anecdote that explains this process  better than I ever could.

“Some time ago, a few ladies met in a certain city to read the scriptures, and make them the subject of conversation. While reading the third chapter of Malachi they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse: “And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” One lady’s opinion was that it was intended to convey the view of the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ. Then she proposed to visit a silversmith and report to them what he said on the subject.

She went accordingly and without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which he fully described to her. “But Sir” she said, “do you sit while the work of refining is going on?”

“Oh, yes, madam,” replied the silversmith; “I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured.”

The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression, “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” Christ sees it needful to put His children into a furnace; His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random; “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

As the lady was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back, and said he had forgotten to mention that the only way that he knows when the process of purifying is complete when he sees his own image reflected in the silver….” (–Author Unknown)

Our journey in this world is a bit like being, at times, in the refining fire–a process necessary in order that we become the beautiful workmanship our Creator has intended.

The necessity of the furnace.

God spoke to his people long ago through His prophet, Isaiah, saying,  “I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10)

God uses suffering to burn our dross away. Allowing various trials and sufferings into our lives works the refining we so badly need. “For He will be like a blazing fire that refines metal . . . He will sit and judge like a refiner of silver, watching closely as the dross is burned away.” (Malachi 3:2-3)

When I am in the midst of a crisis—I feel the heat of my circumstances and I squirm; wishing for a way out—even begging God for a way around this trial, or better still—to avoid it altogether—rather than going through it. Then I remember the truth of God’s word–and HIS perspective on this situation. I go back to the Bible to examine again God’s perspective and purpose in allowing his finest creation—mankind—(and specifically me!) to go through this crucible of suffering.

“So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though, it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold . . . So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter 1:6-7-Phillips translation)

I hope that whatever situation you are facing right now, that God will show you more clearly just how much He loves you, and that you will be able to see His refining hand overseeing the ‘heat’ of your situation–as painful as it is. Patience and time will show the results of His work in your life.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, NKJV)

 Thank you for stopping by my blog today. I hope you have been encouraged as you ponder these truths, and that it made a difference  in your life. If you liked this article please share it with a friend.
All God’s best,


*God’s Perspective When Life Hurts, by Darlene Kordic, pg. 46

See The Refiner’s Fire website:

See this link for: Hands on Lesson – Refining Silver (


2 thoughts on “Suffering–Part of Our Earthly Story

  1. Beautiful, Linda. Frank McCort (Angela’s Ashes) wrote about writing “furiously in his head” before the pen ever hit the page. Talking with you Saturday at the Mason Jar was like being part of that process! That’s exciting! And I sent the blog to Gerry, who loved it! I got to be part of someone else’s process on Sunday too. I accompanied Dedra up to Victor. She had an interview with a couple who make brooms the old fashioned way. The shop is in a building that is several hundred years old, and has creaky wooden floors. It looks like an old mercantile store of the late 1800 early 1900’s. Quite a step back in time! Anyway, Dedra interviewed and I got to be the photographer. FUN!!! Lots of interesting things to photograph in that store, I’ll tell you! Blessings on your evening and Wednesday! Love Kristin Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kristin–I’m so glad you liked the blog and shared it with Gerry. 🙂 And I can so identify with Frank McCort–I write in my head a lot! It sounds so fun to visit Victor and the couple who make brooms. What a fun outing. Al and I went to Cripple Creek on Sunday–and had lunch in one of the restaurants, walked around some and enjoyed the day with our little Sherlock in tow. He did great. The fall colors on the trees was beautiful. Thanks for taking time to write a comment. I’m blessed.


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