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Lonnette Harrell

But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire…

Malachi 3:2

What is a refiner’s fire? It is not a fire that destroys or totally consumes. It is a purifying fire. It rids the precious metal of impurities, but it leaves the gold and silver intact.

But even a refiner’s fire burns, as all fire does. It is not a pleasant thing, but the results are astounding.

I love what John Piper wrote, “…God will have no alloys in heaven.” Generally, alloy refers to a mixture of metals that lessens the value. God is looking for purity. (Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8)

When the goldsmith or silversmith refines the precious metals, he has to heat the fire hot enough to bring the impurities to the surface, while being careful not to destroy the gold or silver. This requires him to keep his eye on it at all times. The way he knows when the gold or silver is refined, is when he can see his reflection in it.

Our Refiner is just as careful when we are placed in the fire. It is not His desire to destroy us or consume us, but to refine us. It means to test and prove true–to purge and separate the dross.

Now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold, which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1: 6-7)

Is there anyone who believes in Christ who has not had a faith crisis, or a time of proving your faith? I certainly have, particularly when my dad died unexpectedly, and left me as the primary caregiver of my elderly, very sick mother. I was so angry at God. I couldn’t understand why our prayers weren’t answered, and why my dad had to suffer so and die. It was a shaky time for my faith, but in the end, I put down my fist and ran into His arms, choosing to trust Him, in spite of my lack of understanding. (God gets blamed for so many things that He didn’t cause.) There was a great deal of hospital neglect, that actually is responsible for my dad’s subsequent death after triple bypass surgery.

If you’re in the fire today, know that God has His eyes on you, and He will not let you be destroyed. When the process is over, you will be like pure gold.

What’s the process like? It’s time consuming, it’s likely to occur many times in our lifetime, and the fire is intense. It’s not something you get by the laying on of hands, and you can’t learn it from a book or watching a CD. Purification comes only one way– through many trials and challenges. God is testing our hearts.  Proverbs 17:3 says,  “The fining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts.” It is in the heat of the crucible and the furnace, that the impurities in our hearts are identified. To “try” the heart in the Hebrew means to search out and examine, to test and scrutinize. Sometimes we don’t even know what we’re made of until we go through tough times. Remember it’s only when the fire gets really hot that the dross is separated from the metal. (I don’t believe that God tests us with sickness or death, because as loving parents we would never put sickness on our beloved children.) These tests refer to difficult situations and trials, and that is proven by the  original Hebrew.

If you feel discouraged, remember that gold didn’t start out pure either. It’s a process, just like everything in our lives. Each day is a new start, because His mercies are new every morning. We can trust Him, understanding that He knows exactly how long to hold us in the fire. (His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.)

In Isaiah 1:25 it says, “And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away thy tin.” To “purge” there, means to purify by fire. Taking away the “tin” refers to the impure parts of the metal. Every trial we go through will remove more and more dross, and we will get shinier and brighter, until our Refiner can see His reflection in us. Job 23:10 tells us, “But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

That’s the ultimate goal, for His life to be reflected in ours. So we do not need to fear the fire, because our Refiner will never leave us or forsake us. He will keep His eyes on us at all times, so that we are not destroyed or consumed, and we shall come forth as the purest gold…

Please read other articles that I have written here:


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