I must admit, I haven’t done a daily devotional probably since high school, or at least my freshman year of college. I can’t even say that I’ve thought about it, or missed it, or wished I had been doing them. However, some recent events have prompted me to go back to it, as I find myself needing daily encouragement and words to help me get through the day. I’ve struggled with finding the right time for me to do this, but I think I’ve started to figure out that starting my day with a devotional will help prepare me for the day, and I can constantly remind myself of what I’ve read and refer to it throughout the day.
A while back, I bought a 366 Day Daily Devotional book called “Streams in the Dessert” by L. B. Cowman, edited by Jim Reimann. I couldn’t tell you when I bought it, but I can tell you I most likely purchased it because it’s an “updated edition in today’s language”. I have My Utmost for His Highest, and sometimes the language is a little over my head, but “Streams in the Dessert” Revised seems to speak to me.
Today’s devotional talks about the refiner’s fire. The verse is Malachi 3:3 – “He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver”. It talks about how God is like a metallurgist; the metallurgist knows that only a refiner’s fire will melt the metal enough for it to finally be molded to its perfect shape. Similarly, God knows that we all need to essentially go through a “fire” to come out perfectly shaped and molded on the other side. It’s almost like life is a series of “fires”, because in my opinion, while we strive to be perfect, and that’s God’s sincere goal for us, we will never achieve perfection in this lifetime. He’s getting us ready for what’s after this lifetime.
The line that really struck me the most from the devotional is “It is with the most precious metals that a metallurgist will take the greatest care”. I haven’t really been feeling like a very precious “metal” lately. I’ve been disappointed in myself and have felt that others have been disappointed in me too, or that others deserve to be disappointed in me. Everyone makes mistakes, but recently I’ve had a hard time understanding that God wants you to make mistakes. Because ultimately, in the end, it’s those mistakes that will make you who you are (which is who He wants you to be). And they’re “planned” mistakes, meant for a purpose. While what you’re going through may not be perfect to some people, and it’s hard to see while you’re right in the middle of it, that’s the fire that’s melting you so that you can become the person God wants you to be. I’ve just been struggling with feeling “precious”. It’s hard for me to feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel when I’m in the middle of the “fire”. But reading a devotional like this seems like it’s exactly what God wanted me to hear.
It goes on to say that while the metal is in the fire, the metallurgist doesn’t leave it; rather, he sits down next to it to watch it so it isn’t overheated and the fire won’t harm the metal. In this same vein, God made choosen to put me “through a fire”, but He will never leave me and doesn’t want to see harm done to me; rather he wants to make sure I get exactly where I need to be so I can be molded to be perfect.
To pick up a random devotional book that I haven’t looked at in years, and have this be the particular passage I’m “scheduled” to read when this is how I’m feeling, can only be explained by the simple fact that God can see and hear my fears and knows that I need comfort. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and this “fire” I’m feeling will pass and will only make me a better person at the other end; the mold of what He wants me to be, perfect in His eyes. It’s just hard for me to be in the fire, but it wasn’t meant to be easy.
Excerpt from a poem by Arthur Tappan Pierson –
And the gold grew brighter and yet more bright,
But our eyes were so dim with tears,
We saw the fire - not the Master’s hand,
And questioned with anxious fears.
There is more before and after that section, but that part sticks out the most for me. Like I’ve said, it’s hard to be in the middle of the fire and see that there’s something good that will come out of this, or to understand that we’re going through something for a reason. And it’s easy to cry and have anxieties and fears and question your life – I’m just glad that I have this devotional today to help remind me that it’s all for a greater purpose, and while it’s not up to me what happens, God is in charge and is keeping an eye on the “fire” and he knows what he’s doing and when we’ll be ready.
Should we think that is pleases His loving heart
To cause us a moment’s pain?
Not so! For He saw through the present cross
The joy through eternal gain.
*On a side note – I took a page from my dad’s devotional “playbook” and brought my devotional book into work this morning, since I knew I’d have a least half an hour to myself before people started to arrive. Shortly after arriving though, a co-worker of mine also arrived and I thought my plans would have to wait. However, she left the office for what I thought was a quick run to the kitchen for coffee, so I thought I’d just read through today’s passage in the 5 minutes or so she’d be gone. But…I was able to spend the next 35 minutes reading and reflecting on the passage and she never came back. As soon as I was done, my boss arrived for the day.
How’s that for God’s perfect timing???!!!