“I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.”
Do you know how to “refine” silver?
Probably not (unless you’re a smith, or character in Lord of The Rings). “Refining,” in a metalsmith’s terms, is the act of heating a metal to its melting point to “remove” any impurities. That’s the key word – “remove.” After the impurities are removed, the silver is left behind in a more pure state.
As humans, God refines us through another process: suffering. (Sounds fun, right?) But when silver is refined, the impurities are removed. When we’re refined, God doesn’t just “remove.” He also “adds.”
When I was in elementary school, my parents got divorced. It was ugly and painful – it was the greatest suffering I’ve felt in my life. I spent many nights praying (to a God I didn’t even know) to bring my family back together, and I consistently battled feelings of abandonment.
In my freshmen year of high school, I attended a Fall Retreat with my youth group. One night, when I entered the main room, I looked around at all the leaders and students and clearly heard God telling me, “This is your family.”
I had never felt so much weakness and joy at the same time; God stripped away all of my bitterness and anger. In an instant, He started my refinement process. But here’s the thing – he didn’t just take away the pain and issues that I dealt with from my parents divorce. He also gave me a deeper relationship with Him and a brand new family!
It’s because of my refinement that I can stand behind the words of 1 Peter 4:13 “Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”
The pain of my parents divorce never disappeared, but I also now have a relationship with Christ and a church family that can easily overcome that pain. Today, I challenge you to allow God to use the pain in your life to refine you, not overwhelm you.
Tyler Pittis is the Pastor of Ministry at The Journey by day, and he’s a superchef by night. Check out his instagram @tpittis and envy his culinary creations.